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Blood drive commemorates St. Francis Dam disaster

SCV Historical Society will host March 3 blood drive at train station

Posted: March 1, 2009 1:49 a.m.
Updated: March 1, 2009 4:55 a.m.

On March 12, it will be 81 years since the collapse of the St. Francis Dam allowed hundreds of thousands of gallons of water to wash down San Francisquito Canyon in the Santa Clarita Valley killing hundreds of people and scores of livestock as well as destroying homes and property in a path that ran along the Santa Clara riverbed to the Pacific Ocean in Ventura.

In memory of the second-worst disaster in California, after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society will host a blood drive March 3.

Nearly 80 percent of the blood donations given to the Red Cross are collected at mobile blood drives set up at community organizations, companies, high schools, colleges, places of worship or military installations according to the American Red Cross.

"This is what we are exactly trying to do with our blood drive on March 3," said Pat Saletore, executive director of the SCV Historical Society. "We are trying to continually be a representative of a strong community by hosting our yearly blood drive and remember the lives lost to this terrible disaster. It happened in our own backyard."

The SCV Historical Society blood drive will be held 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Saugus Train Station at Heritage Junction adjacent to William S. Hart Park in downtown Newhall.

"We get a good amount of people who come in to donate blood, but sometimes the donors are not aware of the 1928 disaster," Saletore said. "Today, we also have to consider those who survived but were also greatly injured and needed blood at that time. This is why it is so important for people to donate blood, because you never know when a disaster can hit."

On display at the SCV Historical Society is a mannequin dressed in a vintage Red Cross nurse's uniform that Saletore said is from approximately the same era as the St. Francis Dam disaster.

To schedule an appointment visit and enter the sponsor code: scvhistorical or contact Pat Saletore at (661) 254-1275. Donor identification is required prior to donating blood. Learn more about the blood donation process and donor eligibility at


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