SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego's contribution to Hurricane Matthew relief efforts grew Tuesday when the local American Red Cross affiliate deployed an additional 10 volunteers, bringing the total to 27.
Five area firefighters and a civilian structural engineer who are part of an urban search-and-rescue team are already in the stricken southeastern United States.
Authorities blamed more than two dozen deaths on the powerful storm, including 14 in North Carolina, where floodwaters continue to rise.
Fatalities and damage were also reported in South Carolina, Florida and Georgia, and power outages were reported in Virginia. According to the Red Cross, nearly 4,800 spent Monday night in one of 90 shelters.
Before Matthew struck the U.S., it caused heavy damage and killed more than 1,000 people in Haiti.
"Our hearts go out to everyone affected by this devastating storm both in the U.S. and throughout the Caribbean,'' said Bill Earley, CEO of the San
Diego Red Cross chapter.
"Even San Diegans who can't go there to help, can help ease the suffering of our brothers and sisters in the Southeast by giving blood, signing up to volunteer here and by donating,'' he said.
The Red Cross volunteers from San Diego and elsewhere are providing safe shelter, food and relief supplies to storm victims.
Two of the San Diego volunteers left Sunday in an emergency response vehicle and expect to arrive Friday, when they'll begin distributing food and
beverages. It's the first time the vehicle has been deployed to the East Coast since Superstorm Sandy four years ago.
More than 150 Red Cross vehicles from around the U.S. have been deployed into the region, along with 3,000 disaster workers and 100 trailers carrying food, water and supplies.
The local firefighters left Friday so they could assist with logistical support, planning and communications, said Lee Swanson of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
The contingent includes Firefighter Mark Alvarez, Battalion Chief Mike Finnerty and captains Karl Becker and Robert Rezende from the SDFRD, along with Chula Vista fire Battalion Chief Jeff Peter and civilian structural engineer Vince Sobash. They're members of the urban search and rescue team, California Task Force 8.
Peter was leading a group of search-and-rescue members in North Carolina, and the others were working on various assignments in Georgia,
according to Swanson. It was unclear how long they would be deployed.
The San Diego Police Department has launched an internal investigation into a program intended to reward officers for making drug arrests.
Since the shooting massacre last month at a Florida high school, at least 19 threats have been made against San Diego-area schools, and the San Diego County District Attorney's office has charged nine juveniles in connection with those threats and menacing messages.
Two people died early Sunday morning after a high-speed chase ended in a head-on crash in North County.
A warming trend that began Sunday in most of San Diego County will continue Monday with dry and warmer weather expected to continue until the middle of this week.
Police were involved a pursuit late Saturday that ended with a deadly officer-involved shooting in Escondido.
A man was shot and killed by police at an officer- involved shooting in Escondido, a sheriff's lieutenant said Sunday.
A man threw rocks at vehicles on Interstate 5 near Imperial Beach Sunday, and threatened police with a pickaxe as he ran into a riverbed.
San Diego Sen. Toni Atkins will make history Wednesday when she becomes the first woman and first lesbian to hold the California Senate's top job.
A 16-year-old boy was allegedly drunk when he crashed his car into a stopped vehicle, pinning a motorist between two bumpers, police said Sunday.
A 27-year-old man suffered fatal injuries as the result of a "punching game'' inside of a bar Saturday morning in the Gaslamp
neighborhood of San Diego.