LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. (FOX 11) - Evacuation orders were downgraded Thursday night from mandatory to voluntary for Holy Fire burn areas, officials said.
More than 1,600 homes were under mandatory evacuation orders, but not all residents heeded those orders. Some remained and witnessed a mudslide that came too close for comfort.
A giant wall of mud and debris came rushing down the hillside just after 2 p.m. near Brookestone Drive in Lake Elsinore.
“You could hear it coming. You could hear the rocks coming, and I hate to say this, but it sounded like a train coming off the tracks," resident Sue Englehardt said.
Englehardt captured the moment on her cell phone, along with neighbor John Lyons.
"The mudslide hit the spillway here and it just flew up. It must have been 30 feet in the air and came over the street," Lyons added.
Lyons said he stayed behind to help Sue and other neighbors who did not evacuate.
As the skies grew more and more ominous throughout the day Thursday, Englehardt said she struggled on how to evacuate her 11 horses.
"If I’m out on mandatory and I take one load of horses out, they won’t let me come back to take care of the rest, so you have to make a decision," she told FOX 11.
On Thursday night, crews worked to clear mud from the street. Englehardt said it was a close call, but her horses and home are okay.
Officials said approximately 5,700 residents were impacted by the mandatory evacuation order. By 11:45 p.m. Thursday, the order was downgraded to voluntary for zones in the Holy Fire burn area: