Homeless Man Helps Woman Out of L.A. River as Water Levels Rise Amid Winter Storm

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The water level in the Los Angeles River was rising swiftly Monday amid a winter storm, leaving one man particularly worried about other homeless people who use the river for shelter. Sergio Herrera, who has lived along the river for 20 years, spoke to KTLA after he helped a woman leave a storm drain she sleeps in before the L.A. River became too treacherous. “She’s Ana. She has a brother and I think she’s had one child,” Herrera, who is originally from Watts, said. “There are schoolmates from high school who come and see her occasionally and remember her when she was not in this state.” Herrera said the homeless woman he helped told him she suffers from depression, so he felt compelled to make sure she got out safely. “Perhaps in that depression she’s wrapped herself up in this little microscopic world of hers,” Herrera added. “At least she lets me in.” The section of the L.A. River at Los Feliz Boulevard, where the young woman was living, is a major concern because officials say some homeless people don’t heed the warnings. “Within the last two months we have had the helicopter hoist a 50-year-old male out of this area,” Capt. Erik Scott, of the Los Angeles Fire Department, told KTLA. In anticipation of the series of storms expected to roll through the region throughout the rest of the week, the LAFD pre-deployed two swift water rescue teams. “The L.A. River will go up to 30 mph, but when you’re in there that is a tremendous amount of force that’s moving very, very quickly,” Scott said. “And again it’s just six inches of water that will knock you off your feet.”

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