Mudslide flows into woman’s Baldwin Hills home, flooding bedroom: ‘It’s devastating’

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

BALDWIN HILLS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) — A destructive mudslide in Baldwin Hills sent thick mud straight into a woman’s home, leaving her with a large mucky mess, but her community is 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 Monday as the powerful weekend storm dumped heavy rain across Los Angeles — about 6 inches of rain fell in the area.

Mayor Karen Bass, who stopped by the home to assess the damage, said the mud began flowing into the homeowner’s home while she was asleep: “This is devastating.”

Peronneau said the massive mudslide began flowing into her home around 4 a.m. Monday. 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 starting 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, visited Peronneau on Monday, offering assistance.

“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.”

Bass said the homeowner, who’s lived in Baldwin Hills for more than 20 years, was sleeping when the mudslide began flowing.

“Obviously, this was life threatening so this is devastating,” said Bass.

“Those of us, like Dion, we love this neighborhood, we have lived in this neighborhood for many, many years so we want to make sure that our hillsides are stable, but that’s all that we can do.”

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.”

Since then, a GoFundMe has been created to help Peronneau repair her home, and she says she’s overwhelmed with gratitude.

“I know that I know a lot of people, but I’ve had over 300 texts and calls, and it just makes me know that I’m not alone,” she said. “It brought eyes to what’s going on, and that, to me, is the most important thing because it is devastating. This is my home.”

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 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 News Service, Inc. contributed to this report.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.