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Public Safety

San Diego Fire-Rescue Specialists Deployed To Washington Mudslide

Mud covering SR 530 in Oso, Wash. after the landslide on March 22, 2014.
Washington State Dept. of Transporation
Mud covering SR 530 in Oso, Wash. after the landslide on March 22, 2014.

Four members of a San Diego search-and-rescue team were deployed Tuesday to northwest Washington where a mudslide claimed at least 14 lives.

Gov. Jerry Brown ordered the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services to deploy the local fire personnel, along with other specialists from the state's Urban Search and Rescue teams, to assist with the response and recovery efforts, state officials said.

"Our Urban Search and Rescue responders train under unique conditions year-round to be ready to respond to all hazards,'' San Diego Fire Chief Javier Mainar said.

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State officials said the four local firefighters would join eight from Riverside Fire Department, three Sacramento fire personnel, two from the Los Angeles City Fire Department and one team member from the Orange County Fire Department headed to Arlington, Wash., where rescue operations were already underway.

The fire personnel are among eight 70 or more member Urban Search and Rescue Task Force teams statewide.

The mudslide was brought on by heavy rain saturating the ground and was covering about a square-mile area that includes a state highway, state officials said.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the communities impacted by Saturday's debris slide and we are activating these highly-skilled responders into the area for emergency assistance,'' Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci said.