Rain & Flood Devastation Affect Local Residents. City Leaders Vow to Lead Recovery and Restoration Efforts
As on Feb. 6, the rain hds been hitting the Southland nonstop for over 72 hours. The record-setting storm, winds, and rainfall have devastated a number of local communities.
One community that has been affected is the prominent Baldwin Hills neighborhood, which has been an enclave for African American residents for decades.
On Monday, Feb. 5, Mayor Karen Bass, Councilwoman Heather Hutt, Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Fire Chief Kristin Crowley, along with a host of city workers, visited residents in Baldwin Hills to offer city support to local residents affected by the recent storm.
A destructive mudslide in Baldwin Hills sent thick mud straight into a woman’s home, leaving her with a large mucky mess, but city workers and her community are stepping in to help.
“I’m in a safe place to sleep, and there was no loss of life, so you know, it happened, but I just want it to go away,” said Dion Peronneau.
The Baldwin Hills neighborhood experienced widespread damage on Monday as the powerful weekend storm dumped heavy rain across Los Angeles — about 6 inches of rain fell in the area.
Peronneau said the massive mudslide began flowing into her home around 4 a.m., on Feb. 5. She initially thought she heard a branch breaking, but when she got up to check things out, she quickly noticed the thick mud in her backyard.
“We heard the crash, and that’s when that just broke … broke the window, the sliding glass doors right off the track, and started going in the bedroom,” recalled Peronneau.
Peronneau’s home has since been yellow tagged as city crews assess the damage.
“They yellow-tagged this part of this house,” she said as she pointed to the back portion of her home. “Which is a good thing, in away, because at least I know … I don’t have to move.”
Now, she’s simply trying to clean and save what she can. Crews spent time at her home Tuesday boxing up her books, pieces of art, and furniture to save them from mold.
Mayor Karen Bass, who lives in the Baldwin Hills area, along with Councilwoman Heather Hutt and Councilman Marqueece Harris Dawson visited the damaged homes in the area, offering assistance and letting local residents know that city support and services were available to help and support the neighborhood in their clean-up efforts.
“My home is just a few doors up and so this is my neighborhood, and this is devastating,” she said. “We’ve toured in different parts of the city [Monday] and this is the worst that we’ve seen.”
“Obviously, this was life threatening, so this is devastating,” said Bass.
Mayor Bass along with city council leaders have remained on top of the storm, warning residents to stay off the roads whenever possible, providing community briefs starting on Saturday before the storm arrived mid-day Sunday afternoon.
Councilwoman Heather Hutt after touring the flood and rain damage of homes affected throughout her district said she intends to work closely with the mayor and other city staff and leaders to ensure that residents in her neighborhood and throughout the city have access to city supportive services as quickly as possible.
She also said “we must all collectively work together to help restore the homes, neighborhoods and our community which have been damaged from this storm. As we all work to weather this storm, we must work as one community leaving no one to address this damage alone. My office and the entire city will be working diligently to ensure that the recovery and well-being of our loved ones and neighbors is at the forefront of the recovery efforts.”
Mayor Bass in her briefing on Tuesday, Feb. 6, thanked Los Angeles first responders and city crews who have worked to respond to this historic rain to ensure that the city can recover.
“Since the beginning of this crisis, power has been restored to 59,000 Angelenos and the city crews serving impacted areas overnight’” stated Mayor Bass.
Peronneau said her insurance company told her the damage isn’t covered under her policy, but friends, and Bass, have vowed to help.
“We will take this up with our insurance commissioner because, you know, this is a state level issue,” said Bass.
“We are fortunate to have the insurance commissioner that we do, Ricardo Lara, you can be sure that when I get in the car, I’m going to be calling him up, and letting him know that as a homeowner, she’s paid her insurance for 20 years, and then when she actually needs the insurance, to be told you’re out of luck, is really unacceptable.”
Bass also said that on Feb. 6, she will submit a request to the Biden administration and Governor Gavin Newsom for emergency assistance for all residents affected by this most recent storm.
Since then, a GoFundMe has been created to help Peronneau repair her home, and she says she’s overwhelmed with gratitude.
Meanwhile, another mudslide also made some Baldwin Hills roads impassable, trapping several vehicles in its path. Residents said the debris flow began Monday morning near Don Ricardo Road.
“Makes me very nervous and uneasy,” said resident Rachel Renrick. “I was scared to come home [Monday] evening. You know, not knowing what I was going to come home to.”
Several vehicles were involved in a muddy crash early Monday morning. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, approximately six cars collided while driving down a hill on La Brea Avenue.
The road was partially covered with mudslide debris. Low visibility in the area also affected the drivers. Multiple people were hurt and one person may have suffered a broken leg, police said. The mudslide led to partial street closures in the area.
Bass signed a local emergency declaration on Monday, which will help expedite procurement of vital supplies and resources, deployment of disaster service workers and the use of emergency protective measures such as evacuation orders.
Meanwhile, a GoFundMe has been created to help Peronneau repair her home.
City New Services (CNS) contributed to this story.