Quick emergency response appreciated

I am writing this letter to commend the interagency cooperation and teamwork demonstrated at the site of a dangerous swift-water rescue that took place Aug. 24 on Highway 78 in Imperial County. The rescue as reported by CALFIRE, employed quick emergency response from San Diego County.

The rescue points to our region’s continued improvements in interagency cooperation in the unincorporated area and with our neighboring county to the east. The response by the San Diego County Fire Authority was exemplary. The Board of Supervisor’s improved programs and training, and increased financial investment in our firefighters, is paying dividends.

The incident report written by CALFIRE Captain Nick Soto, and sent to me by CALFIRE Fire Captain Thomas Porter, describes in vivid detail how a gray pickup with a trailer was swept off Highway 78 by a flash flood measured at over two feet high. The 43-year old male driving the pickup abandoned the vehicle and climbed a tree. Imperial County units were unable to pass a second wash approximately seven miles east to rescue him. When engine 7911 and Medic 7991 arrived at the scene, the water was receding, and the Borrego Springs Fire Units deployed their water rescue equipment to rescue the trapped man.

Utility 95 and Support 7925 remained at the scene to clear traffic hazards. The flood damaged 10 percent of Highway 78’s east bound lane, destroyed 42 power poles, while parts of Highway 78 remained impassable beneath three feet of soil debris, estimated 200 feet long. Caltrans cleared the enough debris for several civilian vehicles to pass.

In short, the rescue went off like it should have, with all agencies working together and doing their job. I appreciate their hard work.

Dave Roberts, County Supervisor, Third District