Some SoCal rescue crews requested in event of disaster at Oroville Dam

PACOIMA, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Local rescue teams on Monday were on their way to help in the event of a major disaster at the Oroville Dam in Northern California.

Los Angeles City Fire Department crews deployed Sunday night to offer aid after Gov. Jerry Brown issued an emergency order to fortify the response to the Lake Oroville area, where nearly 200,000 people remained evacuated due to erosion at the nation's tallest dam.

Lake Oroville, which is about 150 miles northeast of San Francisco, had water levels so high that an emergency spillway was used Saturday for the first time.

Thirteen river flood rescue units were requested by the state office of emergency services.

"So if there's an overflow, and roads do get flooded. People get trapped, stuck in the water, maybe stuck on islands," explained Joey Marron of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. "We have the equipment, and the personnel that are prepared for these situations..."

Los Angeles County swift water rescue teams were also on their way to Oroville early Monday but their trip was canceled after news that no more water was flowing over the emergency spillway.

LAFD swift water rescue teams were also released to return to Los Angeles at 8 a.m., fire officials said.

Other local agencies that were called to help were Long Beach, Ventura County and Orange County fire departments. It was not yet clear whether those agencies also canceled their deployments.

Officials said crews at the scene will continue releasing as much as 100,000 cubic feet per second from the main spillway to try and reduce the dam's level by 50 feet ahead of storms forecast to reach the area Wednesday.

"The idea behind that strategy was to reduce the erosion and stop the erosion, and now the site is starting to de-water and drain out," said Bill Croyle Director of the Department of Water Resources.

Monday, authorities will attempt to plug the hole by dropping bags of rocks into the crevasse via helicopter.
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