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Residents told to evacuate homes opt to stay

January 21, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Many Glendale residents that have been told to evacuate their homes have opted to stay and guard their properties.

Strong rains pounded the foothills Thursday afternoon, bringing water and mud flowing into the streets.

"My car has got stuff for the dog. If I have to go I will go," said Glendale resident Mary Hird.

Hird lives near an area that was stripped bare of vegetation by last summer's wildfires. It's now saturated after four days of rain.

"I'm worried, I would be a fool not to be worried," said Hird. "I am on the Web site watching the floods."

Officials have urged residents to leave, but a number have decided to stay. They said it's too dangerous and if there is an emergency it might not be possible for crews to rescue them.

"In the city of Glendale we have incorporated a Phase 1 evacuation, which is about 343 homes," said Glendale Fire Department Battalion Chief Thomas Propst. "While we are very concerned with evacuations we're trying to promote the public to heed our warnings to evacuate, not only for their safety, but for emergency responders as well."

There are barricades and sandbags set up on several streets to divert any mudflows and water away from homes. It's one of the reasons Hanna Shin and her family decided to stay.

"We were evacuated during the fires so we are used to it now," said Shin. "It was fine then, so hopefully this will just pass."

Glenda Webster is playing it safe. She is packed and it's all loaded in her SUV. She is ready to leave at a moment's notice, but for now the family has decided to wait.

"There could be some mudslides, but we are more worried about mudflow and a lot of water. We are not worried about the hillside coming down because we are not in that kind of danger," said Webster.

Crews are keeping a close watch on the debris basins. The one off of Boston Avenue is already near capacity, but so far the overflow is going into the storm drains and moving quickly.