On Monday, March 28, when the local flood channels of the Los Angeles River filled up from the recent rain, a dog walker and her K-9 pet Scooby got caught in the rushing water in the vicinity of the Sepulveda Basin. The 911 call to the Los Angeles City Fire Department brought out a slew of emergency equipment.
LAFD has well-trained swift water personnel along with helicopters to fly the channel and help locate people and other life in the rushing river. The rain caused the water to fill the cement-lined channel for miles and the woman was rescued but her pet was washed downstream quickly. L.A. City continued to search and they located the dog treading water as it floated miles toward Studio City.
Burbank Fire which trains and is as prepared as Los Angles City Fire in swift water rescue received a dispatch to respond to their predetermined river rescue assignment at Bette Davis Park on the edge of Burbank and Glendale. Instead, they went to Barham and Forest Lawn Drive near the Smokehouse restaurant. The Incident Commander from L.A. City was advised that Burbank Fire was in place in the case that the attempted rescue in Studio City failed.
During the rescue, a civilian jumped into the swift water attempting to rescue the dog and was eventually bitten by the scared dog and he had to be rescued from the treacherous water by the L.A. City helicopter.
The firefighters spend many hours training for these types of rescues the same as they do for mountain rescues. They always remind the public that the professionals are trained and well equipped to perform these types of rescues.
Firefighters tethered to safety lines, along with trained Los Angeles City Animal Services personnel also tethered to safety lines, caught the dog and brought him to safety close to two hours after it was first reported he and his owner were in the raging water.
Burbank Fire asks the public to stay away from the channel during storms, and in the case one does see someone or an animal in distress, call 911 and stay put until a Fire or Police officer arrives. The location is reported via the caller’s phone to the dispatch center and officials may need to use that exact location to contact the caller for more information.
The K-9 Scooby was taken to a veterinarian to be checked out and then was going to be released to its owner, who declined to be identified.
Here are pictures from the rescue by myBurbank’s Austin Gebhardt.