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National Guard arrives to protect Fallbrook


Last updated 10/27/2007 at Noon

For a moment you might have thought you were watching CNN and the war-torn streets of the Middle East, but in fact, National Guard units in Humvees were traveling the roads of Fallbrook on Wednesday for two specific reasons – to protect the residents that remained in the village despite the evacuation order and to protect properties from acts of crime.

Sgt. First Class Raul Santana was ordered to bring his unit in from El Centro and says another unit was brought in from another location as well.

"We want the people that are still here know that we are here to help them, to protect them," Santana said. In particular, Santana was referring to residents that have evacuated their residence but are staying in public parking lots in cars, trucks, campers and recreational vehicles.

In addition, Santana said they were making regular patrols throughout the community to insure crime was not a problem with any homes that had been compromised due to the fire.

"We are here to protect against looting," Santana confirmed.

Armed with rifles, the National Guard troops were friendly, but emphatic about their mission.

In speaking with representatives of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, early reports are that crime has not been a problem in Fallbrook during the fire emergency and ensuing evacuation, compared to some other areas around the county.

"I think it shows that Fallbrook has a different caliber of people," one Sheriff's Department volunteer said. "People in our community are being more respectful."


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