In San Bernardino mountains, residents hit by devastating mudslide fear more to come — as they battle to make sense of what happened
Samantha Hopper and her twin boys, Daniel and Dylan, were buried alive Saturday in their home in the San Bernardino mountains. Their house — the second structure on the mountain that fell in more than a year — had been built years ago, on a site with steep drops into deep ravines, with little clearance from the mountain.
On Sunday, Hopper and others were still struggling to understand what started the mudslide. This was the second time in six months a mudslide has threatened one of the homes of the tiny hamlet of Fontana, a community populated largely by members of the Navajo tribe.
The village of about 1,200 people — which is part of the San Bernardino Mountains National Park, along the southern edge of the San Bernardino National Forest — received its name from a Native American tribe that inhabited it. But as was the case with the San Bernardino mountains, where the residents are from a diverse collection of Indian tribes, Fontana is still struggling to make sense of the devastation.
In Fontana, people from the Navajo tribe, the Hopi tribe and the Kawaiisu and Kawaiisu-Paiute tribes have been visiting the site of the mudslide to try to understand what happened. They came Saturday to lay flowers at the remains of Daniel and Dylan’s house. Many who had heard rumors about the mudslide said they hadn’t believed them. They said they had tried to talk with some of the residents of Fontana, but those efforts had failed. In some ways, they said, no one is talking.
“It really hurts, it’s unreal,” Hopper said. “The people that live here don’t seem to care. It’s just like it never happened.”
“I’m pretty sick of living here because of it,” Hopper’s husband, George, said. “I don’t want to live here anymore.”
At a community meeting Tuesday night, a