Closure at 2nd waterfall of Eaton Canyon begins Friday

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST — In an effort to curb all-to-common rescue calls at a popular recreation site in the Angeles National Forest, officials have announced the Eaton Canyon Upper Falls will be off-limits starting Friday.
The 84-acre closure is planned to stem the dozens of annual mishaps, some of them fatal, on the slippery and treacherous terrain near the second waterfall in Eaton Canyon, U.S. Forest Service officials said in a written statement.
“The user-created trail to the lower waterfalls is not the dangerous portion,” the statement said. “It is the area around the second waterfall that is creating the increase in rescues and deaths.”
Officials have handled 60 rescues near the second waterfall in 2012 alone, and five deaths have been reported there since 2011.
“In particular, hikers ignore warning signs and climb the canyon’s crumbling walls in search of the second waterfall, enticed by social media videos that encourage and challenge people to risk their own lives and those of emergency responders,” according to the USFS statement.
The closure area, “has been kept to an absolute minimum in hopes of changing the behavior of those who ignore the warning signs and continue to place themselves and emergency responders in danger,” according to the USFS.
Additionally, officials plan to continue their public awareness campaign regarding the dangers at the second waterfall of Eaton Canyon and enforce the closure.
Those found violating the closure may be receive a $5,000 fine, up to six months in jail, or both.

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Rare summer beach lightning strikes 9 in L.A. County

Venice
VENICE – Nine people were hurt, and at least one needed CPR, as an unusual summer beach lightning storm spread danger from Catalina Island to the shores of Santa Monica Bay on Sunday.
Witnesses said the Coast Guard was helping search the popular beach, as at least one person believed to be in the water was still unaccounted for two hours after the thunderstorm moved through. And photos of a stricken diver being worked on by paramedics on the beach surfaced on social media.
City fire paramedics set up a triage and treatment center on the crowded beach near Washington Boulevard, and one patient was rushed to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
Two of the victims were critically hurt, city fire spokeswoman Katherine Mann said. The other eight had lesser injuries, with one hospitalized for panic.
Eight adults and a 15-year-old youth were hurt on the beach, but reports of a swimmer hurt in the water and picked up by a Baywatch boat were struck down by the county fire department. County Baywatch crews were on scene, but it was not immediately clear if they treated anyone.
- City News Service

PHOTO courtesy of @Venice311

… FULL STORY

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Man struck by lighting, brush fires ignited, flooding reported as monsoonal storm drenches Catalina Island

A 57-year-old man suffered injuries described as minor when he was struck by lighting on the Catalina Island Golf Course, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Dave Gillotte said.
“He took an indirect hit,” the captain said. Lighting struck near the man at the Catalina Island Golf Course, travelled down a fence and shocked the man, knocking him off his feet.
Los Angeles County and Avalon fire officials treated the man for minor injuries, “primarily injuries from the fall,” Gillotte said. The man was taken to a hospital for further evaluation.
“We had a monsoonal type storm come through fast and furious, landing for about an hour and a half,” he said. The heaviest rain and lightning took place over a period of 35 to 45 minutes.
“Lighting strikes were initially cloud-to-cloud, with heavy monsoonal rain, and eventually went cloud-to-ground with thick, heavy bolts.”
The heavy storm also caused flooding and ignited at least four small brush fires on the island, Gillotte said. The fires never grew beyond a fraction of an acre before they were doused by firefighters and Catalina Conservancy Rangers, or self extinguished.
Once the rain ceased, “We did a complete drive of all island roads, and two aerial reconnaissance flights, to ensure there was no fire or smoke,” Gillotte said.
The storm took a narrow, fast-moving path over the island, Gillotte said.
Catalina Island quickly began returning to normalcy once the storm passed. But first responders kept their eyes on the horizon, as additional storm cells were possibly moving over the island between 11 p.m. Sunday and 4 a.m. Monday.

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Woman bit by rattlesnake near Bridge to Nowhere in the Angeles National Forest

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST >> Rescuers rushed a woman to the hospital Saturday after she was bit by a rattlesnake while hiking near the Bridge to Nowhere in the Angeles National Forest, authorities said.
Officials received a call reporting the snake bite shortly before 10 a.m. from someone at the Bridge to Nowhere, along the East Fork of the San Gabriel River north of San Dimas, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Andy Berg said.
The caller reported a woman had been bit by a rattlesnake about half a mile south of the bridge, the lieutenant said.
The sheriff’s San Dimas Search and Rescue Team headed up to help, but Los Angeles County firefighters reached the victim first via helicopter, Berg said.
She was taken to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena for treatment.
An update on the woman’s condition was not available, Berg said, however rattlesnake bite victims generally respond well to prompt treatment with anti-venin.
The bite occurred adjacent to a portion of the forest known as Rattlesnake Canyon.
Experts have cautioned that the severe and prolonged drought California is experiencing could increase encounters between people and the venomous reptiles.
If bitten, Berg said the ideal course of action is for the victim to call for help and remain still.
“The first thing to do if bitten is to stay calm,” according to a fact sheet published by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “Get to a doctor as soon as possible, but stay calm. Frenetic, high-speed driving places the victim at greater risk of an accident and increased heart rate. If the doctor is more than 30 minutes away, keep the bite below the heart, and then try to get to the doctor as quickly as possible.”

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UPDATED: Firefighters rescue trapped kitten from Pasadena storm drain pipe

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PASADENA >> Firefighters who rescued a black kitten from a storm drain pipe Friday afternoon named him “Lucky.”
The incident kicked off about 3:45 p.m. when a caller reported hearing the feline in a pipe connecting a storm drain and a drainage ditch along the 2900 block of Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
Officials were lowering a firefighter down to the pipe, which was about 3 feet wide, to look for the imperiled animal.
After spotting the black kitten, firefighters performed a “confined space rescue,” Derderian said.
“We sent a firefighter inside about a 36-inch pipe with a breathing apparatus,” she said.
The firefighter pulled the kitten, estimated to be about 4 months old, from the pipe.
“It was purring very strongly, so it appeared to be healthy,” Derderian said. Firefighters christened the kitten Lucky.
No one came forward to claim the cat, which was turned over to the Pasadena Humane Society.
PHS officials could not be reached late Friday for comment regarding Lucky.
But the rescue came only hours after the PHS reminded residents via its website that June is “Adopt a Shelter Cat Month.”
“During June only, the adoption fee for all adult cats (one year old and older) is cut in half — $35! In addition, all cats adopted in June will receive a free nail trim!” according to the PHS statement.
In addition, PHS runs other programs year-round to help adopt out cats to good homes.
All cats with black markings are available for an adoption fee of $13 on the 13th of every month, PHS officials said. Two adult cats may be adopted for a fee of $50. Any cat that has been at the shelter for more than a month is available for $35. Adoption fees are waived for senior adopting cats more than 5 years old, though a $20 mandatory microchipping fee still applies.
Adoption fees includes the spay or neuter surgery, officials added.

PHOTO by Mike Mullen

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9-year-old boy, good Samaritan honored for helping to save choking 3-year-old in South Pasadena

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SOUTH PASADENA>> The South Pasadena Police Department Thursday recognized a 9-year-old boy who called 9-1-1 to help save his choking 3-year-old sister, as well as a good Samaritan and the first responders who also rushed to the aid of the choking child.
The frightening incident unfolded Sunday afternoon at the family’s home in the 1100 block of Pine Street, after the mother of 3-year-old Yalaena Santos noticed she was choking on a grape, South Pasadena police Sgt. Mike Neff said.
The panicked mother, Jennifer Santos, scooped up the child and rushed outside to find help, Neff said. She handed her 9-year-old son, Jaequon Santos, the phone and told him to call 9-1-1.
The boy told the dispatcher what was happening and provided the address, Neff said. “He did a great job.”
Meanwhile, Max Storer, a local man on his way to work at Starbucks noticed the mother and daughter in distress and stopped to help, Neff said. He performed CPR on the choking girl prior to the arrival of police and fire officials.
Police arrived at the scene in about one minute, but were unable to dislodge the grape lodged in the child’s throat, police officials said in a written statement. Firefighters arrived about two minutes later, but were also unable to extract the grape.
So firefighters blocked intersections as firefighters rushed the girl, still struggling to breathe, about three miles to Huntington Hospital in Arcadia, police said.
“In the emergency room, (Huntington Hospital) doctors and staff were able to successfully remove the obstruction and the victim was admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit,” according to the police statement. “The victim has since fully recovered with no adverse outcome.”
South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller hosted a ceremony Thursday at South Pasadena City Hall to recognize those involved in saving the girl’s life, as well as give the family a chance to meet with the police and firefighters involved in the rescue.
Jaequon Santos and Storer were presented with certificates of appreciation, Neff said. The boy was also given a remote control police car, and his sister received a pink blanket.
“The good Samaritan trying to help, what a good guy,” Neff said.
As a result of the experience, Neff added that the mother had signed up to participate in a first-aid class at the South Pasadena Police Department, and encouraged other parents to do the same in case of a medical emergency.
First responders honored for their parts in the incident included South Pasadena police officers Darren Wong, Tom Jacobs and Louie Cetro, as well as South Pasadena police dispatchers Stephanie Barrientos and Catalina Valdez and South Pasadena Fire Department Capt. Eric Zanteson, paramedics Dan Dunn and Matt Robertson and engineers Mike Larkin and Rocky Bergstrom.

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UPDATED: Choking toddler resuscitated in Irwindale

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IRWINDALE — Police, paramedics and hospital staff teamed to save the life of a toddler who was choking on a grape late Friday, authorities said.
Rescuers responded about 8:20 p.m. to a report of a choking 2-year-old boy about 8:20 p.m. at a home in the 16100 block of Central Street, Irwindale police Sgt. George Zendejas said.
“A minute and a half after receiving the call, officers arrived and discovered the child not breathing with no pulse,” he said.
Officers John Fraijo, Rudy Campos and Joseph Hardy were the first at the scene.
“(They) immediately began CPR on the lifeless child,” Zendejas said.”During the CPR, the child then showed signs of life with shallow breathing and a slight pulse.”
Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedics arrived and loaded the boy into an ambulance, the sergeant said. They continued treating him as police escorted the ambulance to Citrus Valley Medical Center – Queen of the Valley Campus in West Covina.
Hospital staff managed to remove the full-size grape from the boy’s throat using a vacuum procedure and revived him, Zendejas said. He was listed in stable condition in an intensive care unit Saturday.
Campos said he and his colleagues were pleased to learn the little boy was stabilized at a hospital.
The child was already turning a light shade of blue when officers arrived, he said. But the boy gave a cough and a cry as officers began CPR, which was soon taken over by fire department officials.
“We all have kids. That’s the first thing that goes through our minds,” Campos said. “Our thing was to get that child revived and breathing as soon as possible.”
In addition to commending the officers for their quick actions, Zendejas also commended dispatcher Sherry Peterson who handled the 9-1-1 call and Sgt. Rene Sapien, who supervised the shift.
“The Irwindale police officers’ quick response and immediate CPR efforts were instrumental in saving the life of the child.”
The incident appeared to accidental, and there were no indications of any negligence involved, he said.

PHOTO (left to right): Officer Rudy Campos, Officer John Fraijo, Sgt. Rene Sapien, Dispatcher Sherry Peterson and Officer Joe Hardy.

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Elderly man badly burned in La Mirada house fire; wife douses flames with kitchen pan

LA MIRADA — A man was hospitalized with severe burns after he caught fire while igniting a fire in a fireplace, authorities said.
The 82-year-old man’s wife used a kitchen pan to douse the flames with water before firefighters rushed him to a burn center with third-degree burns over about 50 percent of his body, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Greg Lombardo said.
The woman was taken to a hospital, estimated to be in her late-70s, appeared unharmed but was taken to a hospital as a precaution, officials said.
Officials first responded to the fire about 12:35 p.m. in the 13000 block of Gandara Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Jason Skeen said.
The man had been trying to light a fire in the fireplace when items nearby caught fire, as well as the man’s clothing, Lombardo said.
His wife, who was in the backyard at the time, came into the home. “He was on fire when she found him,” Skeen said.
The woman grabbed a kitchen pan and used to douse the fire, which was all-but-extinguished when firefighters arrived, Lombardo said.
Firefighters rushed the badly injured man to the University of California, Irvine Medical Center for treatment.
The fire was determined to be accidental in nature, Lombardo said.

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San Dimas Mountain Rescue Team recruiting new members

SAN DIMAS — San Dimas Mountrain rescue team recruiting members
The San Dimas Mountain Rescue Team is recruiting new volunteer members interested in outdoor adventure and serving their community.
Founded in 1955 and part of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the team is called upon to search for and rescue missing, trapped or injured hikers; rescue accident victims in the mountains; assist with evacuations during disasters and a host of other duties, team officials said in a written statement. Team members are on call 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
“Team members continually train in search an tracking, mountaineering, climbing, rapelling, map and compass usage, helicopter extraction and other types of evacuation techniques, snow and ice rescue, swiftwater rescue and more,” according to the statement.
Each members also becomes a reserve deputy sheriff and is trained as a certified emergency medical technician.
An information meeting is planned at 8 a.m. Dec. 7 at the Mountain Rescue Station, 114 East First Street in San Dimas.
No experience is necessary, and all training is provided, officials said. Volunteers must be at least 21 years old, in good health, be a full-time student or have steady employment and have a clear background.
For an application, for more information and to RSVP for the informational meeting, visit www.sdmrt.com/joinus.htm.

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Family rescued from burning apartment building in Pasadena

PASADENA — Firefighters used a ladder to rescue a trapped family from a third-story apartment Sunday, officials said.
The fire was first reported just after 5 p.m. at an apartment complex of about 30 units in the 700 block of Worcester Avenue, just north of Orange Grove Boulevard, Pasadena Fire
Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
Firefighters encountered “flames and heavy smoke” when they arrived, and police immediately began evacuating residents from the building, Derderian said. The fire primarily involved an apartment on the second floor, but damaged the units above and below it.
A family comprised of a man, woman and three girls became trapped on the balcony of their third-floor apartment, above the burning unit, Derderian said. The girls appeared to be about 2, 4 and 8 years old.
Firefighters raised a ladder to the balcony, where they brought down three girls and assisted their father in climbing down the ladder, she said.
The woman was unconscious and was carried out of the building by firefighters, Derderian added. She was hospitalized with possible smoke inhalation.
The three girls were taken to a hospital as a precaution, but appeared okay, Derderian said. The man also appeared unhurt.

Firefighters extinguished the fire in about 20 minutes, officials said. No other injuries were reported.
Though the fire mainly damaged three units, utilities to the entire building were shut off in the aftermath, Derderian said.
Officials summoned the Red Cross to help find temporary lodging for the residents displaced from their homes.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation late Sunday.

PHOTOS courtesy of Jaime Nicholson/Pasadena Fire Department

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