At least 15 people are dead and more than two dozen are injured in California from weather-related incidents, Santa Barbara County officials said Wednesday. The southern part of the state has been drenched with severe rain just weeks after several fires tore through the area.
Flash flooding, debris flow and mudslides are punishing the communities hit hard by the Thomas and La Tuna fires, prompting “dozens and dozens” of rescues on the ground, a spokesperson from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department told ABC News.
Many more are feared to be dead and buried beneath the mud. At least 24 people are missing, fore officials said.
Among those killed was Roy Rohter, the founder of the St. Augustine Academy in Ventura, according to the Catholic school’s headmaster, Michael Van Hecke.
A mudslide swept Rohter and his wife, Theresa Rohter, out of their home in Montecito. Rohter’s wife was rescued and hospitalized in stable condition, but Roy Rohter did not survive, Hecke told ABC News.