SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Chula Vista firefighter Rich Eagan says he’s never seen an emergency of the magnitude in the San Bernardino Mountains.
Eagan has been on the job for 33 years and spoke to ABC 10News on Friday while rain pounded the area already walloped by snow.
He said emergency crews were going door to door trying to deliver medications to seniors and the disabled. Some have been trapped in their homes for 12 to 14 days.
“Initially, we tried using drones to deliver their medication, but the winds were 40 miles per hour and it didn’t work,” said Eagan who has been in the area since Monday.
The Chula Vista Fire Department has sent a crew of 10 to help with emergency efforts in the area.
President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration in California on Friday after Gov. Gavin Newsom made the request.
The president has ordered federal assistance to supplement state, tribal and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from severe winter storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides that started on March 9 and are continuing this weekend.
“It’s been quite a while since the state has had something this significant,” said Aide Barbat, a Battalion Chief with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
The department has been deployed to the City of Bishop, which is now under a flood warning.
It has dispatched a six-person swift water rescue team to save anyone who gets caught in flood waters.
The deployment comes as more than 94,000 people were placed under evacuation orders.
More than 54,000 are without power, officials said at a briefing Friday morning by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
In the San Bernardino Mountains, crews are still digging following a series of massive snowstorms that have paralyzed the area.
At least 13 bodies have been found since the first storm, and so far two deaths have been attributed to the storm.
Officials said Friday there is concern that roofs could collapse due to the heavy snow.
The California National Guard is dropping off hay to cattle stranded in the snow and has sent 36 high-water rescue vehicles to the area.
“We’ve activated the soldiers and the teams to operate those vehicles. Moreover, we have aviation assets that are available to help respond to this effort,” said Col. David Kauffman with the California National Guard.
Officials said the heavy rain forecast for this weekend is leading to the risk of rock and mudslides and that road closures and avalanches are likely.