Citizens rescued from ‘underwater’ San Jose neighborhood

San Jose fire rescue crews were busy pulling people out of flood-soaked neighborhoods in the southern parts of the city as the waters of Coyote Creek continued to rise Tuesday morning.

By late morning boat crews had pulled five people from a flooded homeless encampment near the Los Lagos Golf Course in South San Jose and are were evacuating dozens of homes and businesses in the Nordale neighborhood near Kelly Park, according to San Jose fire spokesman Capt. Mitch Matlow:

“Coyote Creek is rising because of water coming out of Anderson (Reservoir). … We have a neighborhood that’s basically underwater.”

Water rescue teams are using boats and other vehicles to go door-to-door and pull residents to safety, Matlow said.

Anyone who has come into contact with the murky brown water is being decontaminated because of fears about overflowing sewage lines, oil and gas from vehicles trapped in the water or household chemicals that might have leaked into the flood waters.

Evacuees are being taken to local evacuation centers or the hospital but it’s still unclear how many people have been rescued or evacuated so far, Matlow said.

As of late Tuesday morning, no significant injuries had been reported.

The crews responded to the neighborhood at about 10 a.m. just after completing the rescue operation at the Los Lagos Golf Course and as the high waters continue to flood downstream towards the bay, more neighborhoods could be inundated.

The flooding is partly blamed on water rushing down the spillway of the Anderson Reservoir, which the latest series of storms have filled to beyond its capacity.

Matlow said:

“It’s an uncontrollable flow at this point. … How much water we’re going to get here and how high it’s going to rise, we don’t know.”

People are being warned to stay away from standing water, avoid downed trees and power lines and to get out of any area where water appears to be rising.

Over the past day-and-a-half, San Jose fire rescue teams have completed four boat rescue operations due to the flooding and expect to be involved in more as the day wears on.