Independent from Long Beach, California on February 26, 1969 · Page 6
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Independent from Long Beach, California · Page 6

Long Beach, California
Issue Date:
Wednesday, February 26, 1969
Page 6
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TERESA WILKINS, 58, GOT OUT OF SILVERADO CANYON; SO DID HER DOG 'BABY' She Helped Other Evacuees Hurt in Fire Station Collapse Before Being Airlifted to Safety. --StMl Photo by KENT HENDERSON SILVERADO EVACUEES The Faces of Disaster By TONY CILLO Staff Writer Disaster is a 6-year-old, freckle-faced, kid shivering as he stands in the rain. He didn't know five people had been killed in a Silverado Canyon mudslide which swallowed his house. He didn't know the helicopter that rescued him was only one of eight. He did know his "g r a m p a" was on the same helicopter, and now he wished grampa would hurry and climb down a wooden ladder braced against a crumbling embankment. Grampa came slowly down and the old man and the hoy trailed other evacuees from eight-foot- deep mud to places with food and care -- and, most welcome of all, a diy corner. They huddled in the Orange County Forestry Division Fire Station near Irvine Lake until they could he taken by an Orange County sheriff's bus to El Modeno High School -emergency evacuation center. There, Red Cross workers helped several hundred persons without homes -Some from the canyon, some from closer Orange, where the roily Santiago Creek gnawed its banks. Disaster again -- a young mother with her month-old son, wrapped in blue, lying in a carrier busy with a pacifier. "His name is Chad," Mrs. Margaret Fehmie, 21, said. She, her husband, Rod, 22, and their son, were caught up in the death-dealing slides -"We went up Sunday to visit . . ." Now she was at the school and her husband still was in the canyon. "They took the baby first. 1 was really glad when they took him," she said, recounting the evacuation. Her expression changed. "I hope my husband gets out tonight." SILVERADO CANYON TRAGEDY (Continued from Page A-l) in labor shortly after she was airlifted to the Medical Center. She was later transferred to nearby St. Joseph Hospital to await "birth of her child, after emergency treatment. Mrs. Jacqueline DeWitt, 39, bruised and battered- watched helplessly as the crushing slide buried her husband and injured both sons. * * * * SHE SUFFERED multiple injuries, and was taken to the Irvine Lake Fire Station, disaster command headquarters. Chris DeWitt, 17, suffered an injury to his right hand. Brian DeWitt, 15, had a fractured right arm and a head injury. He is in the intensive care unit -- at Orange County Medical. A friend identified the body of Jack DeWitt, 41. The body of Dick Black, 33, was identified by LeRoy Carter, 36, a neighbor. He said both bodies were badly battered and "hardly identifiable." Deputy Coroner John Gill said he was unable to make immediate identifications of the other victims. Roads threading into Silverado Canyon were washed out from both directions, as mudslides and high water flooded through the narrow, twisting defile. * * * * RESCUE w o r k e r s slogged their way over tortuous miles of sogpy hillsides, and fought their way across storm-swollen creeks, to reach the disaster area. They carried medical supplies -- and shovels for the grisly task of digging dead and missing from the debris. Marine Corps helicopters airlifted 169 men, women and children from Silverado Canyon, took 105 from storm-battered Modjeska Canyon nearby, rescued seven from the Ortega Canyon near San Juan Capistrano, and took 26 .boys from St. Michael's Seminary in Live Oak Canyon. A stream of heavy trucks snaked up the canyon road, hauling rock to plug the washout on Santiago Canyon Road midway between the Irvine Lake command post and Silverado Canyon. * * * * EVACUEES were led to the fire station for emergency treatment, food and rest. Seven doctors and three nurses from the Medical Center headed a team of emergency workers which included Red Cross volunteers, sheriff's search and rescue teams and men from the State Division of Forestry, County Fire Department and U.S. Forest Service. Most of the action centered in hard-hit Silverado Canyon but other areas where heavily damaged. Everywhere canyon residents were battling washouts and high water. Runoff filled Santiago Dam, forming Irvine Lake. The overflow spilled into Santiago Creek, and water rose rapidly behind Villa Park Dam downstream. * * * * FLOOD CONTROL Engineer H. George Osborne said Villa Park Dam was near capacity of 15,600 acre feet of water. It was releasing flow at the rate of 4,000 cubic feet per second -- more than the much-larger Santa Ana River, into which it empties at Santa Ana, was carrying. Osborne warned if the rains did not slacken, the runoff would overflow Santiago Creek and threaten Orange, Tustin and Santa Ana. Those cities braced for the expected assault, mustering men and equipment. Osborne said "This storm has produced more damage and more water than any in the county's recorded history -- and it keeps coming. "It's almost as if the Almighty is displeased with Orange County," lie added. Reagan Orders Help SACRAMENTO (UPI) -Gov. Ronald Reagan said Tuesday he has directed ail state agencies, including the National Guard, to make available any help needed by communities hit by floods and mudslides. There was little chance he would -- darkness, joining low clouds and rain, was forcing a halt to the helicopter airlift. In another part of the bright cafetorium, Joe Duran, 25, his wife, Francine, and sons, Michael, 2, and Charles, eight months, huddled with the children's grandmother, Mrs. Rose Duran, of Garden Grove. "There's no use going hack," he said. "Our house was 20 feet from the creek. It was -- what do you say? -- teetering, I guess when we left. It's going to start again Friday. We won't have anything left." Disaster is also a Red Cross worker, smiling, cheering others, while saying nothing about her own 22-year-old son, who lived in the canyon -- his fate unknown. Mrs. Dorothy Frisby, evacuated from her home near Collins Gardens, admitted, "I'm trying not to show I'm worried . . ." then quickly turned to thank a woman with a food donation. T h r o u g h o u t nearby rooms, dozens of El Modena High School teen-a- gers performed various tasks such as sorting clothing, warming baby bottles passing out food. The teen-agers -- "They've been just wonderful," said Mrs. Frisby -- had one answer, expressed various ways, when asked how they wound up at the evacuation center. Karen Fletcher, petite 17-year-old senior, said, "Well, we just thought we could help." At that moment, Karen was encircled by a half-dozen youngsters and holding a tot on her lap while she read Dr. Seuss stories. They loved it. With diapers forlornly stacked on a table in front of them, Robert Williams and his wife, Margaret, talked. "We just moved in Monday a week ago," Williams explained. "I wish we hadn't," his wife said. Snowfall Smothers the Sierra Associated Press Snow continued to pile up foot by foot along the 300-mile "length of the Sierra Tuesday, nearing record depths and isolating thousands of square miles of eastern California. "You wouldn't believe it," said an employe of tJie U.S. Forest Service's snow measuring station near Donner Summit on Interstate 80 between Sacramento and Reno. "It's coming down at two or ^ three inches an hour." * * * * INTERSTATE 80, a four-lane superhighway across the Sierra, was closed for three hours Tuesday. To the south, U.S. 50, the second major trans- Sierra road, was blocked for nearly 30 hours -from Monday morning until afternoon Tuesday -by snowslides and the threat of avalanche. At Mammoth I-akes, on the Sierra's eastern slope north of Bishop, it tonk Forest Ranger Konrad Reinke 45 minutes to trudge 250 feet from his house to the ranger station. The snow was 180 inches deep, including 25 inches which fell overnight I,**, MIL, WM.. M. H, w INDEPENDENT (AM) PRESS-TELESRAM (PMJ--A-7 HOW TO SUCCEED IN i THE HOME IMPROVEMENT BUSINESS! Advertise in Classified. For ac- l tion dial HE 2-5959 now! IN PIANOS and ORGANS BALDWIN Means TONE · PERFORMANCE · STYLE QUALITY · VALUE · LOW PRICE! Yes, for over 107 years the name "BALDWIN" has meant the ultimate in every field of musical endeavor. A Baldwin piano or organ is o lifetime investment ~ a possession to be enjoyed and treasured for generations lo come. Yet, regular Baldwin prices are much, much lower than most people think. And right now we are faced with INVENTORY TAXES ond have lowered prices and monthly payments even more. Truly, from every jtandpoint o Baldwin piano or organ from Billings should be your very flrlt consideration. Come in! Ictall the facts convince "FINAL DAYS INVENTORY TAX NO DOWN PAYMENT FIVE YEARS TO PAY (Save up to 4% yearly on Baldwin financing!) BALDWIN _ PIANO AND ORGAN CO. 3912 ATLANTIC AVE. SZ. 426-7618 BOTH STORES OPEN »:3« 'TIL » WEEKDAYS-»:M -TIL I S»T. ALSO IN TORRANCE AT 23244 HAWTHORNE BLVD. i PHOKE 378-62It MMMM SALE! FLOODWATERS were reported slowly receeding through most of the storm-weary San Joaquin Valley Tuesday. Approximately 30 persons were evacuated in the southern Tulare County community of Allensworth late Tuesday when a dyke threatened to break. In Madera, the Fresno River reportedly breeched its banks in at least 13 places, inundating bottomland and causing the evacuation of 24 families in addition to the 80 persons evacuated Monday night and early Tuesday morning. As the Fresno River overflowed, swollen Cottonwood, M a r i n da and Schmidt's creeks also ran over adding to the serious flooding in Madera. In Coalinga, hardest hit of the valley communities during the early flood stages Monday night, the water level dropped significantly and authorities voiced optimism about conditions there. DINUBA, in northern Tulare County, was faced with the threat of still more flooding Tuesday when the Alta Canal broke two miles east of Dinuba. High water in Fresno snarled traffic, flooded businesses and homes and forced several families to evacuate. ABOUT TO TAKE THE PLUNGE, abandoned auto teeters precariously on the edge of Big Tujunga Wash before slipping into rushing waters in Los Angeles Tuesday. The wash, fed by runoff from record rainstorms, undermined the bluff, causing several homes to tumble into the same wash. -AP wirrenoio TRAVEL NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE Travel throughout most areas of Southern California ranged from extremely hazardous to impossible Tuesday with about 16 highways and countless city streets reported closed due to slides or flooding. Highways closed were: --San Diego Freeway (SR 405) -- closed northbound from junction IR5 near El Toro lo junction SR 133, Laguna Canyon Road, due to bridge damage. --SR 34 -- junction SRI to junction SR 118, near Somis, closed East Fifth Street in Oxnard between Pleasant Valley to Rice Road due to flooding. --SR 74 -- junction IR 5 near San Juan Capistrano to junction IR10, near Indio, closed due to slides. --SRI IS -- junction SR126 near Saticoy to junction SR 249, (North of La Canada) closed at Saticoy due to Santa Clara River bridge washout. Also closed from Madera Avenue in Moorpark to Spring Street in Simi. --SR126 -- junction US 101 near Ventura to junction IR14, near Solemint; closed 10th Street off- ramp to end of Santa Paula Freeway due to flooding and mud on highway. --SR 133 -- Laguna Canyon Road, near Irvine junction SRI near Laguna Beach to junction 1R5, closed junction SR405, San Diego Freeway, to Woodland Drive due to mud slide and water on highway. --SR 142 -- Carbon Canyon Road, junction SR42 near Brea to juncton SR 30, closed Brea-Olinda Road to Orange-Riverside County line due to flooding. --SR 210 -- Foothill Boulevard, junction IRS to Junction 1R10 near San Fernando; closed Sunland to Wheiitland due to bridge washout. --US 66 -- junction SR30 near San Dimas to San Bernardino, closed Los Angeles-San Bernardino County line to Central Avenue in Upland due to bridge damage; closed Baker to Helman due to flooding; closed Haven to Etiwanda due to flooding. --SR 10 -- junction S R I , Santa Monica, to Arizona state line, closed to westbound traffic Ford Street in Redlands to San Timotco County b r i d g e . Reopened to eastbound traffic only, First Street in Redlands to San Timoteo Creek Bridge. Closed to westbound traffic at Yucaipa Boulevard overcross- ing, closed Whitewater River just east of Indio to Blythe. Alternate route available. --SR18 -- Rim of the World Highway, closed junction SR138 to junction US 395 due to flooding; closed San Bernardino to. Big Bear Dam; closed Big Bear City to 5,000-ft. elevation. Open chains required Big Bear Dam to Big Bear City. --SR60 -- junction 1R10 in Los Angeles to junction US395, closed Wineville underpass due to flooding; closed Van Buren to Bain due to flooding. --SR76 -- junction IRS, Oceanside, to junction SR79, closed junction IRS to junction US 395 due to flooding; closed junction US 395 to Rincon. ONLY 2 MORE DAYS to take advantage of the HENREDON UPHOLSTERY SALE FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28th IS YOUR LAST CHANCE YOUR CHOICE OF EVERY SOFA, CHAIR, LOVE SEAT OR OTTOMAN . . . YOUR CHOICE OF EVERY HENREDON DECORATOR FABRIC. NOW! 15% OFF REGULAR PRICE PLEASE NOTE: FRIDAY IS ALSO THE LAST DAY FOR VERY SPECIAL PRICES ON SELECT WOOD PIECES OF DREXEL, HERITAGE AND HENREDON. fine furniture since 1916 1975 LONG BEACH BLVD., LONGBEACH PHONE 591-1347 LIBERALTERMS FREE PARKING DESIGNER ASSISTANCE Store Hours: 9:30 to 5:30 Daily Friday 12:30 to 9.P.M. IONG 1ESCH FUEEWJT ION! IEA H IIVD. ^ s B x »ni» ft «H,S» . tf I it

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