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Koi swept onto streets from Laguna Canyon commercial pond [updated]

December 22, 2010 | 11:45 am

Flooding overwhelmed Laguna Koi Ponds early Wednesday, killing or washing away at least 300 prized fish.

“The thought of just giving up has crossed my mind a few times this morning,” said Ben Plonski, 51, who has owned the Laguna Canyon business for 21 years. “I won’t know the full extent of my losses until we can dig out of this mess.”

Plonski raises koi fish for commercial sale. They go for about $200 each. “I’m trying not to think about that,” Plonski said of the financial loss.

As he spoke, some fish were fighting for air in muddy ponds on his property. Some of his fish, which look like oversized goldfish speckled and splotched in rainbow colors, were swept down Laguna Beach city streets about 2 1/2 miles down the canyon.

[Updated at 1 p.m.: Stacking sand bags at the entrance to his business, Plonski wiped a sweaty brow and said, “Tomorrow night I’m going to be Santa Claus for a couple of young girls who lost their mother to cancer. There’s always someone who's got it much worse then you do, isn’t there? I’m just glad I don’t have to be Santa Claus tonight cause I just wouldn’t be in the mood.”]


Homeless evacuated near downtown Laguna Beach

Dramatic rescues, evacuations, mud damage in SoCal rainstorm

Laguna Beach shop owners assess damage during break in the rain

-- Louis Sahagun in Laguna Beach