Fire Chief Terrazas says false warning about flash floods may have influenced election officials

Fire Chief Terrazas says false warning about flash floods may have influenced election officials

Mistaken flash-flood warning sent in L.A. hours before polls close as storm batters Southern California

Los Angeles Fire Department crews prepare for the start of a simulated flood during the morning flood relief drill on March 27, 2018, in Los Angeles, California.Photo: LOS ANGELES TIMES/SCNG

By Paul Schwabe

March 26, 2018

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Fire Department sent out a false warning about flash-flooding, which may have influenced election officials, said Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas on March 26.

Terrazas said the erroneous warning began late Wednesday night, when he received two calls from a radio dispatcher at around 8 p.m. reporting a downed power line. One call informed him of a power outages that had already caused power outages at a number of buildings, and the second informed him of the possibility of a downed power line. The power outages were reported to have caused numerous power line failures in Hollywood and other areas in the area. The radio dispatcher did not say the power may have been downed.

The Fire Department received other calls Thursday morning, and Terrazas said he could tell by their tone that the callers were making sure their information was the most accurate.

The false warning about a downed power line sent out by the Los Angeles Fire Department caused confusion about the power outage Wednesday night, leading to many people believing the power would go out for a number of hours or more. That has, in the past, served as a factor that has led to a flood of voters turning out in the middle of the day to cast their votes.

“This has been an ongoing problem,” said Los Angeles city attorney Mike Feuer. “When that report came in, many people said it wasn’t true and people made phone calls on it. The truth is that it was false — but it wasn’t the fire chief who didn’t actually tell the truth, it was the dispatch. No one was going to say L.A. is going to go into a full-fledged flood. They would say maybe some of the areas will get a limited rain delay until the next forecast.”

The false alarm was

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