A special report by Nadin Abbott, Reporting San Diego and Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine
January 6, 2016 (San Diego)--With floodwaters rising to the ceiling in several apartments and homes built below-grade on 48th Street in City Heights, residents scrambled frantically to evacuate their children, elderly family members and pets last night. A dog perished—but it could have been a far worse tragedy, if not for the astonishing courage of Gabriel Duarte.
Duarte, a construction worker, surely knew the hazards of jumping into floodwaters that had submerged lamps and live electrical wiring – waters choked with debris, dirt, and potentially disease. Yet he risked his life to save others, entering several feet of water to unclog two submerged storm drains. Many of his neighbors credit him, for preventing further damage. He dove into the murky waters to clear two of the three storm drains that had backed up.