Mudslide survivors gather at Post Middle School shelter

by: Natasha Chen Updated:

Arlington, WA - Twenty-four people stayed overnight at Post Middle School, after many more survivors of the Oso mudslide left the emergency shelter to stay with family and friends.

The Red Cross of Snohomish County is running the shelter with the help of various law enforcement and emergency response crews.

Several survivors told KIRO 7 they had not located their family members. One person said her mentally disabled cousin was missing and had been in a house by himself at the time the mudslide happened.

Family members of injured patients waited at nearby hospitals. One person waiting at Cascade Valley Hospital said her niece was in surgery. The niece’s six-month-old son was flown to Harborview Medical Center.

Marla Skaglund said she saw a man rescue that baby.

Skaglund and others heard someone screaming for help when the mud and debris spilled across state Route 530.

“I could hear it, and he just took off. He said, ‘I’m going, there’s somebody out there’, and they tried to stop him and he said ‘no. There’s somebody trapped out there’, and he came back out with the baby,” Skaglund said.

She said she was concerned because the baby was quiet.

Skaglund’s home is intact, but she can no longer access it. Officials led her back to the house later, where she was able to grab her laptop and purse.

Robin Youngblood was not so lucky. Her home was destroyed in less than a minute, when a wall of mud hit the house.

“I heard this roar, and it was huge. And I never heard anything like that. I looked out the window, and I saw this huge wall of mud - must have been 20 feet tall,” Youngblood said. “We went moving, and we were tumbled. I had a mouth full of mud, and nose full of it. We were under everything, and we had to dig our way out.”

She said she and her friend managed to climb on top of appliances, where they told neighborhood children to call for help. They were airlifted to a hospital an hour later.

She said the helicopter immediately went back to pick up a 4-year-old boy named Jacob. The rest of his family was not located.

“I took all his clothes off, because he was freezing and wrapped him up and held him, and told him I was a grandma,” Youngblood said.

Jacob’s mother later found him at the Post Middle School shelter, but Youngblood said the woman had not located her other children.

Youngblood said she felt extremely grateful to be alive, and to make it out with only a broken finger and some bruises.

She said the only thing she has left of her house is a painting of a Cherokee protector, now splattered with mud.

The painting, by Jim Wilson, is called “Night Warrior.”

“Even though it was daytime, he’s a pretty darn good protector,” Youngblood said.