TWIN PEAKS, Calif. — The death toll in the San Bernardino County mountains after the recent snow storms has climbed to 13 as residents prepare for another storm on the way.
Cal Fire San Diego sent 56 personnel to the San Bernardino County mountains to rescue folks trapped inside their homes, and they are especially worried for another round of rain expected Friday night.
Cellphone video shows how deep Cal Fire San Diego is digging to get to homeowners in need.
“Hope is what keeps us going,” said Brent Pascua of Cal Fire San Diego. “They hear about things like this and it just makes them want to work harder. Dig down deeper, because time is of the essence with things like this.”
Snow has been stacked so high it reached the top of trucks and buildings.
Cal Fire crews have been shoveling several feet of snow in the Crestline, Twin Peaks and Big Bear area. They have been working to rescue residents trapped in their homes.
“Two inmates and these two Cal Fire guys started shoveling,” said trapped Twin Peaks resident Ed Mishica.
Big Bear City reported more than 80 inches of snow over a seven-day period. That’s the most snow since these records have been tracked.
But that didn’t stop Cal Fire from continuing to dig for emotional and grateful residents.
“Instead of doing just the path at the bottom of my driveway, they cleared the whole driveway,” Mishica said.
Other local departments such as San Diego Fire-Rescue Department and Chula Vista Fire Department also sent help.
Firefighters are working to clear the roads to get food, medical supplies and other emergency services to residents — many of whom have been trapped in their homes for more than a week.
“I was just so impressed that they did that job and that’s how I was able to get out,” Mishica said.
Firefighters say their hope to save more residents is what is keeping them going.
“The one I hear the most is just the look on the people’s faces when they do get to them. It’s just overjoyed, happiness, relieved, all of that, makes all the digging worth it,” Pascua said.
Cal Fire San Diego is pre-positioning more crews up north ahead of this coming storm.
Firefighters says they are racing against the clock to clear out more snow before the rain moves in.