Crestline residents in survival mode following powerful winter storm

David González Image
Sunday, March 5, 2023
Crestline residents in survival mode following winter storm
A life and death situation is unfolding in mountain communities like Crestline. The fear among residents is that those who can't make it out of the snow are in some serious danger.

CRESTLINE, Calif. (KABC) -- A life and death situation is unfolding in mountain communities like Crestline following a powerful winter storm.

Main roads are plowed and accessible, but smaller streets remain under feet of snow.

The fear among residents is that those who can't make it out are in some serious danger.

"It's so much snow, there's nowhere to put it," James Gordon said.

RELATED: Large 'HELP US!!' message written in snow spotted in Crestline as some residents grow desperate

AIR7 HD flew over Crestline and captured a large message written in the snow that read "HELP US!!"

People living in the mountains are desperately digging themselves out of an unprecedented winter storm.

"The only way I could describe this is like if we had an avalanche fall over the San Bernardino Mountains and we're just stuck," said Pablo Tello, a Lake Arrowhead resident.

Roads remain impassible as people make the cold trek in search of needed supplies.

Gordon walked a mile to and from his home looking for food.

Crestline's only grocery store, Goodwin & Sons Market, was destroyed after its roof collapsed under the weight of snow.

However, emergency ready-to-eat meals are being handed out in the parking lot to those who need it.

Folks are left shell-shocked by the powerful storm's aftermath.

"I've been up on this mountain my whole life from Big Bear to here in Crestline, and this is the worst storm I've seen in 30 some odd years I've been up here," Gordon said.

"We only stay stocked up for maybe three or four days, and the grocery store is just down the street, so we're like it's not a big deal, but then when the grocery store collapsed and all these trees are snapping and we're in and out of power it's real hard right now," Gordon added.

In the whiteout, the community is in survival mode as they rally around each other.

"I bought these strictly for decorations to put over my fireplace in my living room and right now these are a lifesaver," Tello said while holding an ornament. "These are the only thing I was able to use to get to the gas meter at my house and other people's houses just to uncover them so they catch fire."

For now those affected say they'll have to wait for the help that's needed immediately.

"Without our neighbors, without the helping coming from down the hill and without Caltrans we're isolated. We can't survive," Gordon said.

The biggest concern is that it may take days or even weeks to clear all these roads, so time is running out for those who need it most.