Firefighters receive Medals of Valor for swift-water rescue

Left to right: Murrieta Fire and Rescue Chief Scott Ferguson; Jesse, Summer, Dominik and Madelyn Partida; firefighters Mike Macalinao, Tod...

Left to right: Murrieta Fire and Rescue Chief Scott Ferguson; Jesse, Summer, Dominik and Madelyn Partida; firefighters Mike Macalinao, Todd Bradstreet and Sean DeGrave; Murrieta City Council members Kelly Seyarto, Alan Long, Randon Lane, Jonathan Ingram and Rick Gibbs. Macalinao, Bradstreet and DeGrave received the Medal of Valor Tuesday night.
Murrieta 24/7 photo: Doug Spoon

Three firefighters with Murrieta Fire and Rescue were the first in the history of the department to receive Medals of Honor this week for their efforts in a swift-water rescue.

Captain Sean DeGrave, Captain Todd Bradstreet and Engineer Mike Macalinao rescued a family of four whose car became trapped in flood waters during a rainstorm in January. They were honored at Tuesday night's Murrieta City Council meeting, where they were reunited with the family they rescued -- Jesse and Summer Partida and their young children, 4-year-old Dominik and 2-year-old Madelyn.

The Partida family was coming home from a birthday party Jan. 22 when their truck was caught in flood water rushing through a wash near Monroe Avenue that is used by locals as a shortcut through the area. With the water rising near the windows of the vehicle, the firefighters entered the water to rescue the family members.

Securing a line from the fire engine to the bumper of the disabled truck, DeGrave explained to the family members what needed to be done, Ferguson said. Bradstreet pulled the two children from the truck. Macalinao helped the parents to shore.

"It only takes six inches of fast-moving flood water to knock over an adult and 12 inches to move a small car," Fire Chief Scott Ferguson said in making the presentation. "Two feet of rushing water can carry most vehicles away.

"We're aware of at least four fatalities in our region that occurred as a result of that storm. The Internet is full of videos that indicate that not everybody was as prepared as our 30 people were on that shore. We are here to honor those who risked their lives to save others."




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