Long Beach Fire Department Recognized for Live-Saving Efforts During Montecito Mudslides

LBFD Rescue 2

Photos courtesy of Supervisor Janice Hahn’s office.

The Long Beach Fire Department’s Urban Search and Rescue Team was recognized this morning for their life-saving efforts in the recent Montecito mudslides.

County Supervisor Janice Hahn acknowledged their work during today’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

The team, composed of marine safety officers, lifeguards and firefighters, rescued five people during the mudslides, including a 14-year-old girl extricated from the rubble of her home, Hahn’s office said.

“In the middle of a disaster, this team threw themselves into harm’s way to serve a community in their hour of need,” Hahn said in a statement. “They were far from home—helping people they had never met and will likely never meet again. The Long Beach Fire Department’s Search and Rescue Team have demonstrated extraordinary skill and heroism. We thank them for their life-saving work in Montecito and for the work they do every day to protect residents of Long Beach and Los Angeles County.”

LBFD Rescue

The team was able to make it to Montecito before a storm hit the area, making it possible for them to save lives in the middle of the mudslides. They also relied on manpower alone to sift through rubble and free survivors because a ruptured gas line prevented them from using machinery.

“I can tell you that Long Beach Fire Department was the very first team which was deployed to the Montecito and Santa Barbara area, the day before the rains came,” said Long Beach Fire Chief Mike DuRee. “For probably the first time in my career, our highly trained team members were up on that hillside when the rain came down and when those houses came down. Like true Long Beach professionals, they jumped into action and began to dig the survivors out of the rubble.”

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Stephanie Rivera is the community engagement editor for the Long Beach Post. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015.