Canyon Country family loses home in mudflow caused by strong winter storm

Monday, January 23, 2017 11:38PM
A family in Santa Clarita lost their home after rain-drenched hillsides - charred from the 2016 Sand Fire - gave way and sent mounds of mud into their home.


CANYON COUNTRY, SANTA CLARITA - A family in Santa Clarita lost their home after rain-drenched hillsides charred from the 2016 Sand Fire gave way, sending mounds of mud into their home.

In a matter of moments, the saturated and charred hillsides above a home on Soledad Canyon Road flowed down the street on Friday.

Chad and Michelle Goertz quickly realized they were in danger.

"Within the course of maybe five minutes tops it became 40 feet wide and maybe 12 feet deep, just a wall of water. At that point, you know your life is never going to be the same again, especially your living situation," Chad Goertz said.

Michelle Goertz added that they were only able to escape through their driveway, where water was quickly rising.

When they got to higher ground, still scarred from the devastating Sand Fire that ripped through the area, the Goertz's watched as a river of mud crashed into their home.

"We raised our kids here and had a life here. We never thought anything like this would ever happen," Chad Goertz said.

Their teenage children, Victoria and Gary, were at a basketball game at the time. They couldn't believe the destruction they saw when they came home.

"We grew up here. I remember nights dancing with my grandma in the kitchen," Victoria Goertz said.

The hardened mud sits feet above the ground and their home is unlivable. The family said they can't wait for the day to be reunited with their two dogs and three cats, which all had to be housed somewhere else.

As they look at what's left of their home memories, they said they're lucky to be alive and have received a lot of support.

"That is the blessing of this entire situation. It has been the outpouring of love and support," Michelle Goertz said.

A GoFundMe account has been set up for the family at gofundme.com/goertz-family-home-lost-in-flood.
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