CHERRY VALLEY: Flash flood sends mud and debris flooding into neighborhood

Crews work to clean up mud and debris that flooded into the Cherry Valley neighborhood. Ricardo Sanchez photo

CHERRY VALLEY – A Flash flood of mud and debris created by Friday morning’s rain wreaked havoc in Cherry Valley and forced the closure of several roads throughout the area Friday, Dec. 16.

The torrent of mud damaged several homes and caused at least one person to become stuck inside their residence, according to fire and sheriff’s officials.

The flooding was reported shortly after 11:30 a.m. in the 10000 block of Bellflower Avenue in Cherry Valley, just south of Bogart Park.

“It appears the mudflow is coming from the area that was burned from the Bogart Fire earlier this year in Cherry Valley,” Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Public Information Officer April Newman explained.

August’s Bogart Fire and heavy rainfall on Friday is being blamed for Fridays flooding.

The Bogart Fire that occurred in August burned over 1,500 acres and destroyed much of the vegetation that normally helps control against flooding.

45 firefighters from four engine companies and two fire crews responded to the flood-related emergency, according to Newman. They were assisted by California Highway Patrol officers, Riverside County sheriff’s deputies, Beaumont police officers, County Roads, and Flood Control.

Fire officials established a command center at Bellflower Avenue for resources to have a base of operations for their coordinated efforts.

“The mudflow is running south of Bellflower Avenue, to Brookside Avenue west, to Cherry Valley Boulevard, with road closures between Cherry Valley Boulevard and Brookside Avenue,” Newman reported while crews worked to control the flooding.

A river of mud and debris can be seen flooding down Bellflower Avenue Friday evening.

One victim of the flood, who lives in the 10400 block of Bellflower Avenue, reportedly became stuck inside their home when mud and debris piled up outside of their residence. The mud and debris was preventing the person from being able to open their doors or exit their house.

Deputies responded to the home to help the resident about 11:30 a.m., and helped remove debris and mud from the front of the home so the person could evacuate their residence.

One home sustained moderate damage when two to three inches of mud, water, and debris from the mudflow came flooding into their home. The mud damage inside their residence reportedly displaced a family of three.

Resources spent all day Friday and well into the evening working on cleaning up the affected roadways and performing mitigation efforts to prevent future flooding, and damage, Newman explained. Resources were back to work early Saturday morning.

Many homeowners joined the cleanup efforts, grabbing shovels, backhoes, tractors and anything else they could find, to help with clearing the roadways and areas affected by the mudflow.

“With the assistance of all cooperating agencies the mudflow was stopped before it affected the City of Beaumont,” Newman stated.

At about 11 a.m. Saturday morning, Christopher Tague, from KMET 1490 AM radio, updated on social media that roads in the area were reopened, but he suggested using caution as the roads were still covered with mud.

There were no reported injuries related to the flooding.

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Trevor Montgomery spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg in an off-duty accident.

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including the Robert Presley Detention Center, the Southwest Station in Temecula, the Hemet Station, and the Lake Elsinore Station, along with many other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, Personnel and Background Investigations and he finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator.

Trevor has been married for more than 26 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 12 (soon to be 13) grandchildren.

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