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March 30, 2014 at 10:55 AM

Volunteer crews looking for family mementos for mudslide victims; rescue dogs on break

Rescue dog Nexus, muddy from working at the mudslide site, waits to be decontaminated via hose at the west side of the slide on Highway 530 near mile marker 37 on Sunday (Photo by Rick Wilking / Reuters )

Rescue dog Nexus, muddy from working at the mudslide site, waits to be decontaminated via hose at the west side of the slide on Highway 530 near mile marker 37 on Sunday (Photo by Rick Wilking / Reuters )

Search-and-rescue dogs are taking a 2-day break, but search-and-rescue teams and volunteers are at the site of the mudslide today combing through the mud and debris left by the slide.

As of March 30, there are  620 people actively working in all capacities on both sides of the slide and 125 people actively working the search area out of Darrington on the east side as of today. The crews are made up of people from local, state and federal agencies, Kris Rietmann, a spokeswoman with the Washington State Department of Transportation, said at a news conference this morning in Darrington. Rietmann is the spokesperson for the east side response effort on the Darrington side of the mudslide.

Some of the civilians at the site are working as “memorabilia collection crews,” following behind the search-and-rescue efforts and collecting personal belongings, such as family photos, that they may find, Reitmann said. The belongings will then be decontaminated and securely stored “so families can be reunited with some of their belongings,” she said.

Rescue dogs, meanwhile are taking a two-day break from the tiring work.

Rietmann says she has not heard of any injuries to the dogs but that conditions on the slide field are difficult and that “this is just a time to take care of the dogs.”

The community has received an influx of donations, Rietmann said. Sonohomish County has created a new Facebook page — at www.facebook.com/530SlideRelief to organize such community fundraising efforts.

The best way to help at this point, Rietmann said, is with cash donations. Coastal Community Bank in Darrington is accepting such cash donations, Rietmann said.

Comments | More in General news | Topics: #530slide, mudslide, Oso mudslide


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