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Neighbors dig each other out of mudslide mess

December 23, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Sometimes it takes a village -- or in this case, the Perez, Delgado and Agulliar family -- to dig out of a big mess.

These neighbors are helping each other recover from in Highland, where 25 homes were encased in mud after heavy rain Wednesday triggered a massive mudslide.

Luis Perez along with his brother, uncle and cousins came together to help dig their sister's truck out of the mud.

"This mud is soggy and heavy," Perez said. "It's hard to walk through. Water is still flowing through here."

But the family didn't stop there. They moved on next door, removing shovel after shovel of mud.

Their neighbor wasn't home, but when they returned they found a pathway in.

"We're digging out the front door so they can get in and get whatever stuff they need to get out," Perez said.

A drainage ditch that used to funnel into the Santa Ana River took a shortcut through Julian Aguillar and his neighbor's backyard.

Ramon Perez volunteered to go inside the Delgado home and remove his neighbor's mud-stained Christmas gifts and pictures.

However, other residents were warned not to enter their homes until they were inspected for safety.

Linda Constante was not prepared for what she saw.

"I've been here 37 years and I've paid for my house. I've worked for it," she said. "My husband has worked all his life. He got laid off. Now it's gone."

It took only seconds for mud and debris to wipe out years of hard work and memories. But a crew of family and friends is hoping to restore their neighborhood, one shovel at a time.

"I am hoping we have enough help," Luis Perez said. "Out here, all the families are going to get together and help each other out."


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