Medical emergencies abound at huge Calif. college party

Personnel from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, the Sheriff's Office, American Medical Response and other organizations responded


Joe Tarica
The Tribune

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Medical calls, including a report of a female who fell from a roof, were keeping emergency personnel in Isla Vista busy on Saturday during the unsanctioned event dubbed "Deltopia."

At approximately 1:15 p.m., crews were dispatched to the 6500 block of Del Playa Drive for a report of a fall victim, according to emergency dispatch reports.

Later Saturday afternoon, emergency personnel responded to a report of a fall from a second-story window on El Nido Lane.

By evening, firefighters had treated several people with major injuries, including broken bones.

Other calls midday Saturday, many for locations on Del Playa, were for reports of people who had possibly overdosed on alcohol or drugs.

Personnel from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, the Sheriff's Office, American Medical Response and other organizations were working in the area.

By afternoon, firefighters declared a mass casualty incident because of the number of patients with medical emergencies, Capt. Daniel Bertucelli said.

"It was real busy out there," he added.

Adding to the worries related to the gathering with heavy crowds was the fact that "many balconies are overcrowded," he said.

By 7:30 p.m., authorities rescinded the mass casualty incident declaration since the volume of calls had dropped to reasonable levels, Bertucelli added.

On Friday, law enforcement officers made three arrests, issued 20 citations, took seven reports and dealt with one traffic collision, according to Raquel Zick, Sheriff's Office public information officer.

Numbers for Saturday's tally were not available yet, but Zick noted, "Today has been much busier."

"First responders became inundated with medical calls for service in #IslaVista and shifted to a triage system for medical emergencies at 3:30 p.m.," she said.

The annual-but-unapproved street party known as Deltopia dates back to 2010, following a beach event, Floatopia, and occurs the first weekend after spring break.

In some years, Deltopia has attracted thousands of college students, leading to citations and arrests.

In addition to warning about the risks and impacts of heavy partying, reminders also were issued that the COVID-19 pandemic remains a concern despite the easing of public health-related measures.

"Isla Vista is a densely compacted area, and we need to remember that the start of spring is not the moment for us to go back on all the progress we have made on containing and slowing down the spread of this virus," said Shannon Sweeney, UCSB's Associated Students vice president for local affairs. "Please join us to Keep it Local, Keep it Safe in Isla Vista this weekend."

To quell troubles, authorities have implemented beach closures, parking restrictions and noise limits, while urging "Keep it local. Keep it safe, Isla Vista!" for the weekend.

A number of alternative events organized for this weekend included a roller skating party, a community festival and a nighttime concert.

Mother Nature might have assisted authorities trying to tame Deltopia. A cloudy start to the day on the South Coast led some to complain on social media, but it apparently didn't entirely deter the celebrating, which got underway early.

"I'm up earlier for Deltopia than for classes," one partier said on Twitter.

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(c)2022 The Tribune

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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