A few minutes later and Téa Hartfield wouldn’t have been the one helping others she would have been in real trouble most likely finding herself pushed into Yellow Lake by a mudslide.
The 19-year-old Olalla woman watched as the hillside on Highway 3A broke loose creating a large mudslide across the highway and into Yellow Lake April 13 around 6:10 a.m.
“I was just headed to work and then all of a sudden the hill just started come down. I just backed up reversed the car quickly and got the heck out of there. Once I stopped I got my nerves back down. I worked my ways to the pull off and put on my hard hat and flagging vest and started directing traffic,” she said.
Having been part of the Keremeos Volunteer Fire Department since she was 15 and recently graduating from an intense heavy equipment operating course last year, it was like second nature for Hartfield to jump in and start helping others.
“At first people were like why is this girl waving their arms like a crazy person on the side of the road and then they would realize, ‘oh, OK there’s a mudslide,’ and then they’d be thankful for giving them a secondary route to take,” she said.
She said the hardest was helping guide a fuel carrying double trailer semi-truck so he could turn around in the pull out area.
“I just took him to the biggest part of the parking lot and just was there making sure he could get around. It was stressful,” she said.
Hartfield said she was late leaving for a work a few minutes because her infant son had woken up hungry.
“If he didn’t need a bottle I might have been right in the way when it happened,” she said.
She said she was a few hours late for work, but her bosses at Grizzly Excavating didn’t mind at all.
“I was pretty late, but they knew about what was going on and were good with it,” she said.
The slide area was opened to alternating traffic Monday afternoon as crews continue to work on cleaning up and doing maintenance on the road.
There was no estimate at press time when the road would fully be open. For updates check DriveBC or www.keremeosreview.com.
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