In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, Berkeley “Augie” Johnson spent 45 minutes with his family on the roof of their home in Montecito, California to escape the 10-foot wall of water, cement blocks and tree branches coming toward them. When the mudslide slowed down, he got down to check on his neighbors and joined firefighters walking down his street searching for anyone trapped in the sludge.
About 4am, Johnson heard the faint sound of a crying child and a few minutes later, a firefighter reached down several feet into the debris and mud and pulled out a two-year-old girl who they say looked like a “muddy doll.”
A firefighter cleared the toddler’s airway and she was taken to the hospital, where they found she had a hip injury, but is expected to be just fine. “I don’t know how that baby survived,” Johnson says. “It was just amazing. Had we not gone over there, I don’t think that kid would have survived.”