Dogs, People Rescued From Swollen Rivers In The Inland Empire

February 6, 2024 0 By JohnValbyNation

JURUPA VALLEY, CA — Sixteen people and a slightly higher number of canines stranded on strips of land surrounded by fast-moving water in the Santa Ana River bottom were rescued Monday by fire crews.

The water emergencies were initially reported shortly before 10 a.m. near the Van Buren Boulevard bridge, according to the Riverside Fire Department.

Witnesses spotted people standing on either a sandbar or other thin strip of terrain, yelling for help, officials said.

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About an hour later, as city fire personnel were engaged in their first rescue operation, several people stranded on the Jurupa Valley side of the river, near Van Buren and Clay Street, began shouting for help, according to officials at the scene.

At that point, Riverside County Fire Department engine crews were sent to initiate a separate rescue.

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Waters in the Santa Ana began rising last week when the first round of storms hit and were moving rapidly after the latest downpours began Sunday night. The area is replete with transient encampments.

Northbound Van Buren was closed by Riverside police while the rescue operations were underway.

Municipal firefighters conducted several rescue operations over the course of three hours, safely extricating a total of 10 people and 17 dogs from islands along the Riverside boundary of the channel. One woman suffered from hypothermia and required medical attention, officials said.

No other injuries were reported.

Riverside County Department of Animal Services personnel impounded the canines at the nearby Western Riverside County Animal Shelter.

County fire personnel wrapped up their first rescue before noon, using a hoist line on a ladder truck to safely extricate two people from their isolated location on the river.

However, additional operations followed, with four more people transported to safety using rafts and other equipment, according to reports from the scene.

The final rescue was completed shortly after 2 p.m.

The parties on the Jurupa Valley side of the river reportedly declined medical treatment.

Along with fire and police, county Emergency Management Department staff were sent to assist.

Just before 1 a.m., San Bernardino County Fire Department’s Swift Water Rescue Team saved three people trapped atop their car, a feat captured on video.

Meanwhile, numerous road closures were announced in multiple communities throughout Riverside County due to flooded roads throughout Monday, with more rain slated to arrive later in the day, according to the National Weather Service.

—By City News Service

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