Physician among at least 17 killed in mudslides destroying Southern California communities weeks after wildfires

At least 17 people have died and hundreds of homes have been damaged after torrential rains created mudslides in several Southern California communities that scrambled to escape wildfires just a few months ago, ABC News reports.

Firefighters who fought deadly wildfires in the area in December are now searching flattened homes across Santa Barbara County for mudslide survivors. Montecito, Calif., was placed under mandatory evacuation orders Thursday, forcing approximately 10,000 residents out of their homes for between one and two weeks, ABC News reports.

Among those killed in the mudslides was Mark Montgomery, MD, an orthopedic hand surgeon affiliated with Santa Barbara-based Cottage Health and the Santa Barbara-based private practice Associated Hand Surgeons, according to KSBY-6 News.

Dr. Montgomery and his wife, daughter and son were caught in the mudslide. His wife and son survived, the report states.

In a statement to KSBY-6 News, Cottage Health said, "We're very saddened by the death of Dr.  Mark Montgomery, who was a member of the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Medical Staff. Dr. Montgomery was a respected orthopedic surgeon who specialized in hand surgery. We extend sincere condolences to his family and all who knew him as a colleague and friend. This is an enormous loss for our community."

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