SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego city employees involved in the sudden and massive cleanup of damage from a series of December rainstorms were Wednesday publicly recognized for their hard work.
"City employees never get much thanks for doing their jobs, so I'm seizing this opportunity to say to all of you, thanks for a job well done," Mayor Jerry Sanders said at a City Hall news conference.
Representatives of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, lifeguard service and wastewater and stormwater divisions were on hand, along with City Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, who represents the district most affected by flooding.
Firefighters responded to about 450 emergency calls per day during the height of the storms, compared to an average of 250 calls on normal days, Deputy Fire Chief Ken Malbrough said.
"As you can imagine, we were really stretched to fulfill services to our citizens," Malbrough said.
The lifeguard River Rescue team pulled 70 people out of rising waters, including 41 from a Mission Valley motel that was surrounded by the overflowing San Diego River.
Others worked all night to clear 1.5 million gallons of water out of Qualcomm Stadium in time for the Poinsettia Bowl, in which San Diego State defeated Navy 35-14.
Terrell Powell, a supervisor with the Water Utilities Department, said he arrived at the stadium late in the afternoon the day before the college bowl game -- after having worked a full day responding to other emergencies -- and without having had a moment to see aerial footage of the flooding.
"It didn't look like something that would happen easily," Powell said of the drainage project. He said his boss should have sent him in via boat.
After consulting with Poinsettia Bowl officials, 16 workers placed a couple of vacuum trucks in the stadium trunk and ordered in three pumps. Six stayed the entire night.
"At some point (around 1:30 a.m. on the morning of the game), it went from insurmountable to `that can happen,"' Powell said.
He said the field was clear by 4:30 a.m., but water kept rising to the surface.
The football fan said he missed the Poinsettia Bowl because he needed to grab some shuteye. There were few problems with footing in the contest.
"I was amazed there was a football game, quite honestly," Powell said.
Even though the rapid clearing of the field was presented to a national television audience on ESPN, he deflected much of the praise.
"It's what we do every day," Powell said.
Emergency crews executed a water rescue early Friday morning, after a car landed upside down in a San Ysidro pond.
Cool and cloudy conditions start off Friday morning, but the sun will break through in the afternoon. Strong winds in San Diego County's deserts are also expected to ease up Friday morning.
A man who was drunk when he drove off in an ambulance from Scripps Mercy Hospital with two patients inside was sentenced Thursday to four years in state prison.
Police in San Diego's Tierrasanta neighborhood were on the lookout Thursday for a man suspected of following a 12-year-old girl even after she confronted him and told him to stop.
The fight continues over how to dispose of the nuclear waste from the now shuttered San Onofre nuclear plant.
The CBS News 8 Crimefighters are helping authorities in a manhunt looking for Rosendo Castillo Gomez. If you have information call CrimeStoppers at (888) 580-TIPS. A reward is being offered for his arrest and remember you can make a tip and still remain anonymous.
Dinelson Lamet overpowered the Mets in his major league debut, New York's Rafael Montero labored on short notice and the San Diego Padres won 4-3 on a rainy Thursday night.
Six parents have sued the San Diego school district, alleging that its anti-Islamophobia campaign favors Islam over other religions and grants special protections to Muslim students.
The U.S. Postal Service honored the oldest living Pearl Harbor survivor. On Thursday dozens gathered in Poway to celebrate Ray Chavez who turned 105-years old in March. The special birthday bash included a cake and toasts from local leaders.