US & World

Washington landslide: 18 Calif. search and rescue specialists sent to help

Searchers look through debris from a deadly mudslide Tuesday, March 25, 2014, in Oso, Wash. At least 14 people were killed in the 1-square-mile slide that hit in a rural area about 55 miles northeast of Seattle on Saturday. California is sending 18 search and rescue specialists to help coordinate and support operations.
Searchers look through debris from a deadly mudslide Tuesday, March 25, 2014, in Oso, Wash. At least 14 people were killed in the 1-square-mile slide that hit in a rural area about 55 miles northeast of Seattle on Saturday. California is sending 18 search and rescue specialists to help coordinate and support operations.
Elaine Thompson/AP
Searchers look through debris from a deadly mudslide Tuesday, March 25, 2014, in Oso, Wash. At least 14 people were killed in the 1-square-mile slide that hit in a rural area about 55 miles northeast of Seattle on Saturday. California is sending 18 search and rescue specialists to help coordinate and support operations.
Fire station volunteers and firemen prepare to enter the area of the massive landslide to look for survivors and recover bodies on March 24, 2014 in Oso, Washington, about 2 miles (3.2 km) west of the site of the landslide. More than 100 people are still unaccounted for after a devastating landslide in the northwestern US state of Washington, while eight people are so far confirmed dead, officials said.
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Searchers look through debris from a deadly mudslide Tuesday, March 25, 2014, in Oso, Wash. At least 14 people were killed in the 1-square-mile slide that hit in a rural area about 55 miles northeast of Seattle on Saturday. California is sending 18 search and rescue specialists to help coordinate and support operations.
In this handout from Washington State Dept of Transportation, an aerial view of the hill that originated the mudslide March 23, 2014 between Darrington and Arlington, Washington. Eight people have been confirmed dead and at least 18 others are still missing after a massive mudslide leveled homes and blocked a river and a road.
Handout/Getty Images
Searchers look through debris from a deadly mudslide Tuesday, March 25, 2014, in Oso, Wash. At least 14 people were killed in the 1-square-mile slide that hit in a rural area about 55 miles northeast of Seattle on Saturday. California is sending 18 search and rescue specialists to help coordinate and support operations.
In this handout from the Office of the Governor of Washington Jay Inslee, an aerial view of a mudslide and subsequent backup of the Stillaguamish river is seen on March 23, 2014 between Darrington and Arlington, Washington. A massive mudslide on March 22 has killed at least fourteen and left many missing.
Handout/Getty Images
Searchers look through debris from a deadly mudslide Tuesday, March 25, 2014, in Oso, Wash. At least 14 people were killed in the 1-square-mile slide that hit in a rural area about 55 miles northeast of Seattle on Saturday. California is sending 18 search and rescue specialists to help coordinate and support operations.
A house sits destroyed in the mud on Highway 530 next to mile marker 37 on March 23, 2014 near Arlington, Washington.
Pool/Getty Images
Searchers look through debris from a deadly mudslide Tuesday, March 25, 2014, in Oso, Wash. At least 14 people were killed in the 1-square-mile slide that hit in a rural area about 55 miles northeast of Seattle on Saturday. California is sending 18 search and rescue specialists to help coordinate and support operations.
In this handout from the Washington State Patrol, emergency workers examine debris after a mudslide March 22, 2014 in Snohomish County, Washington. According to reports, 18 people are still missing after a mudslide killed three and injured another eight. The mudslide is said to measure a square mile and 15 feet deep in places.
Handout/Getty Images


Governor Brown is sending 18 urban search and rescue specialists from California to help recovery efforts after the deadly mudslide in Washington state.

Rescue operations were already underway near Arlington, a small community north of Seattle, where a debris slide brought on by heavy rain now covers about a square-mile area, including a state highway. FEMA requested the additional personnel to coordinate and support operations, according to the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services. 

"A massive slide like this requires an all-hands on deck approach," said Sacramento City Fire Chief Dan Haverty in a news release from OES. "We are getting our California personnel and gear to the impacted area as fast as possible."

The specialists include representatives of the San Diego, Riverside, Los Angeles, Orange County and Sacramento fire departments.

Capt. Steve Dohman of the Orange County Fire Authority is there coordinating incoming resources, something he also did during Hurricane Sandy, according to his colleague Capt. Richard Ventura.

"Because he's assigned in a logistics role, it's not the hero/rescue role — it's a support role. It's a very important support role because we can't get the rescuers on the pile without people like Steve making sure the logistics (are) there," Ventura said.

California has eight Urban Search and Rescue Task Force teams that participate in a larger national system managed by FEMA, according to OES. Members of the team specialize in disciplines like first aid, heavy equipment operations, canine search and rescue, hazardous materials, logistics and communications.

At least 14 people are confirmed dead, and the list of missing has fluctuated from a little more than 100 to nearly 200. Some two dozen homes have been destroyed, according to OES.