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Search for Missing Firefighter

 

CASTAIC (CNS) - The incredibly-rugged Piru Wilderness northwest of Castaic is the scene of the sixth day of searching for a missing off-duty firefighter from Arcadia.

Michael Herdman was last seen eight days ago. By midday today, searchers said ``no progress to report.''

His dog, Duke, remains in a jagged branch canyon today. The dog evaded capture overnight, and City of Los Angeles Animal Services volunteers will try to capture the dog again today, in hopes he can be calmed and then help searchers find Herdman.

Eighty-six people were flown in to the rugged canyons and jagged ridges today to search for herdman, a spokesperson for the Ventura County Sheriff's Department told City News Service. Some of those searchers are volunteer dog experts from the City of Los Angeles Animal Services Deparrtment.

One rescuer is hospitalized today in intensive care after his hand was bitten by an enormous rattlesnake, a search spokesman said. Bill Herrera, who is assistant chief at the Fillmore Fire Department, has needed 52 vials of anti-venom serum.

Herdman, 36, has not been seen since he went chasing after the dog along a streambed in the Los Padres National Forest, north of Fillmore, in Ventura County.

After an unsuccessful initial search, Herdman's hiking partner Taylor Byars raised the alarm Sunday night.

There have been two sightings of Duke since then. Authorities have been trying to capture the dog in the hope that he can lead them to Herdman.

Sheriff's department searchers from Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Kern and San Luis Obispo counties, and the Homeland Security Rapid Response Team are working the rugged mountains this week. The search site is 15 miles into the wilderness from the command post at Fillmore.

The searchers' efforts are being augmented by two drones. The search area spans 50 square miles, with a focal point of 6 square miles, searchers said.

Posted by Amy King

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