They were two disasters which hit back to back, coming just weeks apart. First the Thomas fire, then the debris flow hit Montecito. 23 people died, dozens were injured, and more than 100 homes were destroyed. It was a traumatic pair of events for the community. One of Montecito's most famous residents talked about the experience during an event honoring first responders.
On Friday, the community had a chance to thank the first responders who helped them, as the U.S. Postal Service chose Montecito as the place to unveil a new “first responders” stamp. Oprah Winfrey took part, thanking emergency workers on behalf of the community.
Like many Montecito residents, Oprah says the events bring back some traumatic memories for her and her longtime partner, Steadman Graham.
After the ceremony, Oprah talked about how fate spared her and Graham, while some of her neighbors were not so fortunate. She says she ran to her front door to see what was causing the noise. A neighbor a few houses away did the same thing, and was swept away to her death.
The longtime talk show host, businesswoman, producer and actress says what happened really was a life changing event. She says it’s given her a new appreciation for each day, and for life itself.