Valley natives lucky to be alive after Santa Barbara mudslides

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Joel Stagis a Central Valley native is returned to his home two days after mudslides ravaged his Montecito neighborhood. (KFSN)

Joel Stagis, a Central Valley native, returned to his home two days after mudslides ravaged his Montecito neighborhood. A thick layer of mud covers the floor of his home, his toddler's toys are unsalvageable, but none of the destruction compares to the night it all happened.

"We start to hear the fence and the trees behind our backyard break," said Stagis.

In seconds, mud flooded their backyard and entered their home.

"We were freaking out," said Stagis. "We are really scared, so we go to the front of the house, we open the front door and mud just starts flowing in."

Joel and his family, including their newborn and two-year-old, needed to get to high ground. They climbed a tree and got onto the roof of their home.

Their neighbors did the same.

"In my mind, I thought I do not want my family to die up here on this roof because we definitely saw debris from houses that had been knocked down," said Stagis.

They had to weather the rain and cold for three hours until the sun came up. Covered in mud and sleep deprived the family walked for 20 minutes towards town until they were rescued.

"We had our lives kind of flash before our eyes and there were a lot of people at the same time that was thinking the same things and had a different outcome," said Stagis.

The family is still trying to recover belongings from their home. So far they have been able to retrieve very little clothes and some of their important documents. As for the house, Joel said that will probably be a total loss.

Family and friends have also set up a GoFundMe account to help the Stagis'.
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floodingrescueSanta Barbara County
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