Three Murrieta Firefighters were honored by a state lawmaker last week for the role they played in rescuing a family from some fast-moving floodwaters.
Senator Jeff Stone stood before a crowd of family, friends, city council members and first responders Friday, March 4, and said how honored he was to be there in the presence of some of the “public safety heroes in the state of California.”
Murrieta Fire and Rescue department members Capt. Todd Bradstreet, Capt. Sean DeGrave and Engineer Michael Macalinao were all honored with a Certificate of Recognition presented by Stone for a swift water rescue that occurred Jan. 22, in Yoder Wash, just east of the I-15 overpass in Murrieta.
“It’s so nice to have them right here in my hometown area of Murrieta,” Stone said as he recapped the events leading up to the rescue. “It was only a matter of time, if the family did not get intervention, that we would have had four fatalities.”
The family of four was on their way home from a birthday party when their vehicle became stuck in some fast-moving water in Yoder Wash, located along Monroe Avenue south of Los Alamos Road. A mother and father, along with their two young children, were trapped in their pickup truck when it was swept of the road and carried several hundred feet downstream.
Firefighters from six Murrieta Fire Department units threw lifejackets to the vehicle for all the family members before working their way through the fast-moving water to the truck where they performed a dramatic swift water rescue during a dayslong storm which had dumped almost 7 inches of rain in the area.
Firefighters were able to remove all four people from the vehicle to safety thanks to the efforts of Bradstreet, DeGrave and Macalinao, all rescue swimmers, with assistance from other members of Murrieta Fire and Rescue and Murrieta Police. The three men systematically plucked the family, one at a time, from the nearly submerged vehicle.
“I can imagine the children in the car and the fear that they experienced and the fear of the parents with the strong current going around them.,” Stone said. “Who would have known the flooding we saw this year, not only here but across the state of California, would have caught the eye of Californians and certainly the public through the United States as these officers put their lives on the line as they are sworn to do to save the life of another.
“There could not be nobler profession than to be a firefighter and to save a life under these circumstances,” he said.
“It wasn’t about who got the credit, it was working collectively to save lives,” Stone said. “God bless you all.”