Hundreds of mourners gathered to commemorate the victims of the Washington landslide that claimed at least 30 lives. A school custodian who was described as a popular librarian and a tough-minded animal lover was among the victims of the deadly landslide that struck Washington about two weeks ago. Even as rescuers continue searching the land for more bodies, the funeral services of the already identified victims are being held.
In Arlington, around 250 people gathered at a golf course club house to commemorate the life of 36-year-old Summer Raffo who was a school custodian and specialist in hoof care for horses. The funeral service was held just a few miles from the spot where the unforgettable landslide swept her car on that fateful day. However, her brother managed to pull her from the damaged vehicle.
“She was tough and had so many brothers,” said Barak Pearson, the leader of the funeral service. Pearson was speaking to hundreds of mourners who had gathered to pay tribute to their fallen neighbor, friend and relative. He described the deceased as a shy but loyal friend who liked being outdoors most of the time. She was hardworking and very dependable, according to her friends.
In nearby Darrington, a separate funeral service was held for yet another victim of the deadly Washington landslide. 69-year-old Linda McPherson was discovered dead in her home under the wet debris. Her husband luckily survived the incident when it crashed their living space and other properties located on the same line in the community of Oso. The community is situated at the foothills of the Cascade Mountains northeast of Seattle.
One of Raffo’s friends, Peter Selvig hailed the fallen teacher for educating thousands of children in the region. She had been a long-serving librarian in the town and most students remembered her for all the good reasons. Selvig described her as a sweet, mellow and gentle woman who was quite rare to find.
Meanwhile, some of the friends, families and relatives of the deceased have revealed their plans to sue the government for the deadly Washington landslide. They claim that it could have been avoided if the government had shown some concern for the people living under such dangerous conditions before allowing them to settle there. Instead of discouraging further construction projects at the site, Snohomish Country officials were accused of approving more construction requests.
The controversial lawsuit is still under consideration by top lawyers to determine if the victims of the Washington landslide have a chance or not. According to legal analysts, the government cannot be held responsible unless it had initially assured the residents that it was safe to live in such an area. An agency can also be sued if it decided to fix the impending danger by itself, only to make things worse. However, according to David Bruce, a Seattle lawyer who also acts as a government representative in cases involving landslides, this is just one of the many disasters caused by the forces of nature and there is no reason to sue the government for it. More funeral services for the victims will be held this coming week.
By Andrew Wandola