The Hills Came Tumbling Down in Studio City

Rain had been falling for hours in the Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles when Scott Toro, 60, was startled on Sunday night by a noisy rumble. “I don’t know how to describe it,” he said on Monday morning. “Almost like a plane crashing or something.”

It was so loud that he called 911.

The sound turned out to be a cascade of mud and rocks thundering down the hillside above Lockridge Road, a narrow street where Mr. Toro has lived for more than two decades. The street winds up into the base of a steep ravine. It’s the kind of hillside that officials warned would be vulnerable to mudslides during the record-breaking rainfall that fell on Sunday.

Mr. Toro looked into the darkness to see that the muck from the hillside had pushed his Honda Pilot into the Toyota Tacoma parked in the driveway in front of his home. Chunks of brick retaining walls upended by the mud had smashed into the vehicles.

Officials urged Mr. Toro and other residents of the nine homes on Lockridge Road to flee. At a news conference on Monday, Kristin M. Crowley, the Los Angeles fire chief, said firefighters had evacuated 16 people from the homes on the street and moved some of the residents to emergency shelters.

“Thankfully no one was injured during this rescue,” she said.

Mr. Toro spent a nearly sleepless night at a relative’s house. “I’m still jittery,” he said on Monday while huddling outside his home in a bucket hat and rain jacket. Fortunately, he said, the mud didn’t get into his house.

Across the street, though, city inspectors had “red tagged” his neighbors’ house, meaning it was too dangerous to occupy. Mud and rocks had exploded through their garage, leaving its contents strewed down the hill in the grime filling the mouths of storm drains.

At one point, a lone soccer ball rolled down the street.

Sean Matsumoto and Andrea Holstein, who have lived down the street from the damaged homes for 13 years, walked slowly in galoshes along a street below Lockridge. They had fled quickly with their children, and put their dog in the trunk of their car — there wasn’t time to grab possessions.

Mud had seeped into their front entryway, but the house had mostly escaped damage. Ms. Holstein’s parents, who also live in the neighborhood, were fine, she said.

They were more worried about their neighbors. Mr. Matsumoto toted a red plastic basket from CVS — he was looking for photographs and mementos that may have been swept out of their neighbors’ homes.

Soumya Karlamangla contributed reporting.

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