A NEW BEDFORD, MASSACHUSETTS, MAN nearly blew himself up early Monday morning while he was in a vacant house trying to steal the copper piping.
Kevin Livramento, 46, lives directly behind the house that has been vacant since the owner passed away in January, so he knew it was ripe for the pickings. Livramento was malisciously cutting up the copper pipes in the basement around 3 am when he mistakenly cut into a gas pipe. The leaking gas soon found its way to the water heater where the pilot light triggered a ka-boom that knocked an exterior wall open and moved the house off its foundations.
The shock wave in the community led some neighbors to spring to their windows to see what was the matter and Livramento was observed pedaling away on a bicycle. He was easily recognized by his own neighbors and the police had him in custody in short order.
WLNE-TV Ch. 6 filed a good video report from the scene:
Livramento was suffering from burns to his face and was taken to the hospital for treatment. He has been charged with breaking and entering in the nighttime into a building, larceny in a building and malicious destruction of property.
The police have already linked him to another similar crime in the area and are questioning him on several other breakins that have been happining in recent months.
A TANDEM TRAILER LNG TANKER went out of control, crashed through a guardrail and exploded in a giant fireball early Tuesday morning in Ecatepec, Mexico, a suburb of Mexico City.
The mighty ka-boom heavily damaged at least 45 homes that lined the busy, 4-lane highway, leading to the deaths of at least 20 people with more than 23 injured, some seriously.
The Associated Press is reporting:
A government spokesman, Cesar Diaz, said emergency workers would continue searching through the night in the charred remains of vehicles and homes built near the highway on the northern edge of the metropolis.
Residents pitched in to rescue people from the wreckage of the 5:30 a.m. explosion, crushed and burned cars and shattered homes. Television footage showed plumes of flame shooting out of homes in the pre-dawn darkness.
A huge piece of the truck’s gas tank was blown 50 yards by the blast, landing atop the wall of a house and cars parked outside.
Mario Lopez, 43, a mechanic, lives in the house hit by the tank and managed to escape with his three sons after being awakened by the blast.
"All the windows broke to the inside. We got down and left crawling," said Lopez, who lost a brother, a sister, three nephews and a sister-in-law who all lived in separate units of the three-story home. He said 12 people in all died in the house. "Everything was in flames," he said.
The 36-yr.-old truck driver survived the crash, but is hospitalized and being held under arrest. He is facing charges of manslaughter and property damage.
A DESTRUCTIVE EXPLOSION in a downtown office building in the Czech capial of Prague Monday morning has injured more than 30 people, however the Mayor's office says that there were no fatalities.
The blast occurred just before 10 am local time in a small office occupancy located on a narrow side street next to the National Theater. The authorities believe that there were about 15 people inside the building when it blew. Many of the injuries were minor cuts and bruises to passersby, but about 4 occupants were more seriously injured.
Police officials said search and rescue dogs have inspected the site three times over the course of the day and there are no cases of people being trapped in the rubble. There are no reports of missing persons or people unaccounted for, the police said.
A VIOLENT STORM SYSTEM swept across Harris County, Texas, Saturday afternoon and a lightning strike from it is being blamed for triggering an explosion and fire at an oil storage facility.
The incident began around 3:15 pm in a Houston suburb and the first-arriving units found "several" of the storage tanks ablaze.
"Several of them look like they did explode," said Dean Hensley, with the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office. "The other tanks are still intact, but obviously the fluids and oils inside the tanks are still burning." That information was later updated to report that six tanks of various sizes had exploded.
The dispatch went to 2 alarms and the fire was easily knocked down by the FD. A protective foam blanket was applied around the entire area to prevent any hot spots from igniting.
A LARGE EXPLOSION DESTROYED one end of a 5-story apartment building in Reims, France, Sunday morning.
Early indications are that it was a natural gas explosion that destroyed ten apartment units and has left at least two people dead and fourteen more injured at last count. Four others remain unaccounted for.
The blast occurred at 11:30 am local time Sunday and was both felt and heard over a wide area and shattered scores of nearby windows. About 200 firefighters and rescuers are on the scene searching for more victims that are likely to be trapped under the rubble. Search dog teams have also been brought in.
The local newspaper L'Union has the early report HERE.
The building was constructed about 50 years ago and had been renovated in recent years.
TWO LARGE FUEL BARGES docked in Mobile Bay, Alabama, had been prepped and were being loaded with gasoline to be shipped when a large explosion ripped one of them around 8:30 pm Central Wednesday night. A second explosion followed immediately. The event started a large fire on and around the docked vessels.
While the Mobile Fire and Rescue Department was responding to the call a third explosion occurred.
The FD set up a 1-mile radius evacuation zone and held back from attacking the fire as the ka-booms continued through the night with the 7th and last (so far) blast going off at 2 am. After that the fire gradually died down and is believed to have been extinguished around 7 am Central this morning.
Three people who were working on the first barge were critically injured with burns and taken to a burn center.
It is not yet know what caused the first blast that started it all, but there appears to have been little or no damage beyond the affected docking area. But that is subject to be changed as the investigators are just now getting into the blast zone.
Mobile tv Ch. 10 posted this good, eyewitness interview that includes video of the second explosion:
The initial reports are understandably a little contradictory. The barges are at a location where they are repaired and maintained, and it has been mostly reported that they were being cleaned and prepped before taking on their next load. Another report says that at least one of them was filled with gasoline, but Firegeezer suspects that is a reporter's misunderstanding about a barge that had residual gasoline fumes. We will update when more reliable information comes out later today.
Those were the words of a survivor of last night's major explosion in West, Texas, at the town's primary employer, a fertilizer plant. Listen to his first-hand description of what he experienced on this video provided by NBC News:
As dawn crept across Texas this morning, the magnitude of the fertilizer factory explosion became more apparent and the massive search for survivors and other victims continues.
Firegeezer will be keeping this posting open all day and updated as more verified information is released.
Early reports this morning quote the county's emergency operations director as saying that he believes there are two EMT's that were killed and five firefighters are missing and presumed dead. They were all at the plant working the fire when the blast occurred. There were also several factory employees on the job (unconfirmed… FG) but nobody has been able to get into the blast zone yet.
The hulk of the West VFD firetruck positioned at the plant (Reuters)
NBC News has posted some eyewitness accounts:
Crystal Jerigan rushed outside her home about 15 blocks from the blazing West Fertilizer Company plant after hearing the sirens of emergency responders. She was in the driveway with her two daughters preparing to flee when the plant exploded.
"About the time that I got to the car, you could hear the boom and within seconds, it just sucked you in and just threw you to the ground," Jerigan told NBC.
* * *
Another local resident, Derrick Hurtt, who was sitting in his truck with his daughter Khloey taping the burning plant, caught the moment of the blast on camera. He estimated he was at least 300 yards from the plant, but that was still too close. In his video, Hurtt can be heard asking his daughter if she is OK.
"Please get out of here, please get out of here, dad please get out of here," the young girl can be heard saying. "I can’t hear anything."
"I’m pretty sure it lifted the truck off the ground," Hurtt said on TODAY. "It just blew me over on top of her. It all happened so quick that things just kind of went black for a moment."
* * *
"A nearby nursing home is really bad, there’s an apartment complex and the school that caught fire," Crystal Anthony, who serves on the town’s school board of trustees, told the Waco Tribune-Herald. "We’ve been moving patients out of the nursing home and taking them to the football field and gymnastics building on Davis Street."
At yesterday's Lineup we were talking about the small town VFD near Pittsburgh that stopped running calls in December and never told anybody, the town council, the 9-1-1 agency, county fire committe, etc. It was all brought to light last week when a house directly across the street from the fire station burned down and nobody from that department ever showed up.
It was our intention to finish that commentary this morning, but the overwhelming disaster in Texas last night has focused us on that still-unfolding story that we have been following since about one hour after it happened. So our commentary on the disappearing VFD will conclude tomorrow instead.
The terrible event in West, Texas, began with a major fire at the fertilizer factory that is was situated right in the small town of 2,800 souls and their volunteer fire department was already on the scene when the blast rocked the entire county. This video clip surfaced overnight that shows both the impressive size of the original fire and the subsequent explosion that leveled nearly every building in a 4-block radius from the plant:
At the time of this posting, the authorities are telling us that they know of two EMT's that are fatal and the status of five missing firefighters is still unknown.
The casualty count stands at 15 currently, and 160 injured, many seriously. And these numbers are still fluid as the understandable confusion surrounding the incident makes verifications difficult. We will be updating this situation throughout the day.
And coincidentally, the FireEMSBlogs team has been experiencing some server problems overnight and into this morning, so we apologize for any delays or interruptions you have been getting on our websites.
We'd better get our equipment checked out now. We have plenty of coffee lined up and ready for brewing, so I'll get that going too. See you back in the day room.
UPDATE: REPORT NOW SAYING THAT FIREFIGHTERS WERE ALREADY ON THE SCENE WORKING A FIRE WHEN THE BLAST HIT. UNKNOWN NUMBER INJURED OR KILLED. PLANT WORKERS ON SITE ALSO. SCROLL DOWN.
UPDATE #2: WACO TV REPORTING 60-70 DEAD, OVER 100 INJURED. Scroll down.
UPDATE #3: CASUALTY COUNT REVISED.
Thursday morning: Verified casualties are closer to 15 dead and 160 injured with more searching still to be completed. Scroll down.
THE SMALL TOWN OF WEST, Texas (pop. 2,800) has been near-destroyed Wednesday night when a fertilizer factory blew up and set dozens of buildings on fire. High numbers of injuries are expected.
The blast occurred just before 8 pm Central and heavily damaged or destroyed every home within four blocks of the plant. Throughout the entire town there are many buildings on fire in the rural community located about 35 miles from Waco on I-35.
Fox News is reporting:
Department of Public Safety troopers were using their squad cars to transport those injured by the blast and fire at the plant in West, a community north of Waco, Gayle Scarbrough, a spokeswoman for the department's Waco office, told television station KWTX. She said six helicopters were also en route to help out.
American Red Cross crews from across Texas are being sent to the site.Red Cross spokeswoman Anita Foster says her group is working with emergency management officials to find a safe shelter for residents displaced from their homes.
The blast at West Fertilizer plant, reported shortly before 8 p.m. CT, was confirmed by Waco police dispatch operators. First responders are dealing with numerous injuries and major damage to structures and vehicles, Scarbrough said.
Twohours after the initial blast there were many buildings still on fire.
Several buildings, some in residential areas, were reported to be burning, others destroyed, and a nearby nursing home was damaged. The blast at West Fertilizer plant, reported shortly before 8 p.m. CT, was confirmed by Waco police dispatch operators. First responders are dealing with numerous injuries and major damage to structures and vehicles, Scarbrough said.
Initial reports say people are trapped in a nearby nursing home and an apartment building. according to Reuters. A local school football field is being setup as a staging area.
WFAA-TV Ch. 8 Dallas had this early report before news crews arrived at the site:
CNN has just added:
A number of nearby residents were being evacuated because of the possibility of another explosion, officials said.
A hospital in nearby Waco, Texas, has been told to anticipate 100 injured people coming in from the fertilizer plant area, an official at the medical facility said.
Glenn Robinson, CEO of Hillcrest Hospital, said a field triage station was being set up on a football field near the plant some 18 miles north of Waco after the Wednesday night explosion.
Victims were pouring into the triage area as it was setting up.
"We have had a steady flow of patients coming in by ambulance as well as by private vehicles," Robinson told CNN's Anderson Cooper.
More than 40 patients were received as of 10 p.m. (11 p.m. ET), Robinson said, suffering from "blast injuries, orthopedic injuries (and) a lot of lacerations. While some of the injuries are minor, others are "quite serious," he said.
This event is less than three hours old at the time of this initial posting. We will be updating continually. Check back.
UPDATE, 11:10 AM CENTRAL, Firefighters caught in blast: The Waco Tribune is reporting:
Firefighters were trying to put out a fire at the plant when the explosion occurred, said West Mayor Pro-tem Steve Vanek, who was on his way to help when the blast took place.
Shortly after 9 p.m., Vanek was talking to personnel near the scene, visibly upset with his head in his hands, bent over at the waist. One of the people speaking with Vanek said "he lost a lot of his buddies out there."
Asked if he knew if any of the firefighters were killed, Vanek replied, "I fear for the worst, but I’m praying for the best."
* * *
A stream of emergency vehicles, including ambulances, sheriff’s deputies, and other emergency vehicles, poured into the town shortly after the explosion. A Hill County sheriff’s deputy who was directing traffic said the explosion shook the windows of his home in Whitney. The deputy said a fire broke out at the fertilizer plant and the blast occurred while firefighters were trying to put it out. Many of the injured are firefighters, he said.
Crystal Anthony, who serves on the West Independent School District board of trustees, said she and her daughter were "knocked back" by the blast as they stood blocks away from the plant.
"A nearby nursing home is really bad, there’s an apartment complex and the school (West Middle School) that caught fire," she said. "We’ve been moving patients out of the nursing home and taking them to the football field and gymnastics building on Davis Street."
Denise Day, a nurse at the West Rest Haven Nursing Home, 300 Haven St., said she had arrived at her home 23 miles from West when she heard the explosion. At first, Day said, she and her husband thought it was thunder. But after turning on an emergency scanner, they quickly learned what had happened and she returned to help evacuate about 50 to 100 of the nursing home’s 140 residents.
Many of those evacuated from the home could be seen sitting in wheelchairs near the end of the high school’s football field with cuts on their heads from flying glass after the explosion. About 15 to 20 ambulances were parked on the football field at about 9:45 p.m.
UPDATE #2, 11:30 PM CENTRAL:
KWTX-TV Waco is reporting early casualty figures:
West EMS Director Dr. George Smith says as many as 60 or 70 people died and at least 100 were injured Wednesday night in a fertilizer plant explosion in West.
West Mayor Tommy Muska said at a news conference however, that he doesn't yet know how many people were hurt or killed in the blast explosion. He said there was a fire at the West Fertilizer plant before the explosion.
The explosion was reported at around 7:50 p.m. in a frantic radio call from the scene of the fire at West Fertilizer at 1471 Jerry Mashek Dr. just off Interstate 35.
The fire started in an anhydrous ammonia tank and spread to the building, authorities said. The resulting explosion spread the fire to the Middle School and to a nearby nursing home.
About 60 people had been taken to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center by shortly before 10 p.m. By 10:45 p.m. 61 injured victims had been admitted to Hillcrest, 44 of whom were in serious condition. Scott & White said it has received three patients, two at Scott & White Memorial Hospital, and one at McLane Children’s Hospital. Providence Health Center in Waco had received 22 patients by 11 p.m. Wednesday.
With dawn breaking over the town of West, Texas, the organized search and rescue operation is proceding. So far, the authorities are listing approx. 15 known fatalities and about 160 injured, many of them seriously. Both counts are expected to rise during the day as more of the devastation is uncovered and others who were previously unaccounted for start showing up.
This report will be continuing on a separate, updated posting this morning. This posting is closed.
TWO UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE are in "grave" condition at a Sacramento, California, hospital after being dropped off by a car that left them on benches in front of the emergency room and then drove away.
Police believe that they are connected to an early-morning explosion and fire that destroyed a house at 4:30 am where neighbors saw a black car speed away with its lights turned off right afterwards.
KOVR-TV posted this video report from the scene:
The roof collapsed and the back half of the home was nearly gone, but neighbors don’t appear too upset the house was destroyed.
"The last two, three years, I don’t know who they rented to but there’s people coming and going all day and night," a neighbor said. Now, neighbors are finding out why there may have been so many visitors.
"What we do know is that marijuana plants were found in and about the house," said Officer Doug Morse.
SMUD turned the power off a year ago, and those living at the home have been using generators to grow the pot inside the garage. But investigators still do not know if the drug is the reason the home burned.
Two burn victims were taken by private vehicle to UC Davis Medical Center about 30 minutes after the fire was reported. Fire officials said the victims suffered second- and third-degree burns over 50 percent to 70 percent of their bodies, including on their hands, faces and legs.
Sacramento Fire Department Battalion Chief Chris Ortiz said the cause and origin of the fire have not been determined. "We are trying to determine if the fire came first or the explosion," Ortiz said.
Fire investigators have learned that there might have been others living in the house.
Firefighters spent Wednesday searching the rubble for any possible fatalities. Investigators are still working to determine what caused the fire.
A COUPLE OF THIEF-WANNABE's with dubious logical-thinking skills saw their efforts to steal the inventory of an ATM go flying by.
The nitwits decided to blow up a stand-alone cash dispenser located in a self-serve gas station in Hampshire, England, Sunday morning with the thought in mind of just reaching in and grabbing the stack of cash after the cabinet door was removed.
CCTV tape shows us just how smoothly their operation went (the ATM is the blue and red pylon on the far right):
A Bristol man was held on suspicion of theft and causing an explosion likely to endanger life or property. The 26-year-old is currently in custody.
Witnesses saw people running towards the A303 and Red Post Lane.
Hari Raman, who manages the property, called the thieves "crazy" and said people living nearby were lucky the fuel at the station did not ignite. He said the explosion damaged the structure of the building, and the petrol pumps and canopy would have to be replaced.
A LARGE EXPLOSION IN AN APARTMENT shortly after 6 am Wednesday morning in Witry-lès-Reims, France, has left 4 people dead and at least 2 more missing and feared to be under the rubble.
The dawn blast, which is believed to most likely be a natural gas explosion, occurred on the 2nd floor of the small apartment building in the small town of 5,000. TV5 Monde adds:
According to a final report confirmed by the public prosecutor of Reims, four people, a couple of 30-34 and their child of 4 years, as well as an old uncle of 50 years who lived in another apartment, were killed.
A man critically burned was transported in a coma to a hospital outside the Department, according to the prosecution. Furthermore, three other more lightly injured people have been transported to the CHU de Reims.
The entire building was gutted by the blast and is left in a pile of debris and structural pieces. The sound of the ka-boom was heard for several kilometers around.
Firefighters, gendarmes, and search dog teams have been working the site all day in attempts to find a man and his daughter who are unaccounted for, plus any other potential vicitims that may be in the rubble.
A LARGE PROPANE TANKER COLLIDED with a coal-hauler in southern Illinois Tuesday afternoon around 2:30 and started burning. The coal truck had stopped on a 2-lane road to make a left turn and was waiting for oncoming traffic to clear when the propane tanker rear-ended the coal truck.
The collision killed the driver of the tanker and the tank began leaking and the product ignited explosively with a resulting fire in the rig. The driver of the other truck was unhurt and able to evacuate his cab without problem.
Several fire departments from Randolph and Perry Counties responded to the wreck and set up operations to keep the tank cool while allowing the product to burn off. But about an hour into the operation the situation deteriorated and the FF's had to make a hasty withdrawal. Less than a minute later the tank blew sending the classic, large fireball up and obliterating the front of the tank and its tractor.
WSIL-TV has a good video report including aerial coverage from the scene:
WSIL-TV has the story plus a photo gallery HERE.
KMOV-TV has additional video HERE.
A SERIES OF AT LEAST FOUR below-grade electrical explosions in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, Saturday morning kept firefighters at a distance for a short while until the manhole covers landed.
Around 7:30 am the first in the series of explosions occurred on Seventh Street in front of the courthouse and main police station. One of the first blasts sent a manhole cover flying "several stories" high and left an 8-ft. square hole in the pavement.
This brief video from the Courier-Journal shows that the excitement continued after the FD arrived on the scene:
The initial fire call was for smoke inside the police station. When the FD arrived they had not yet located the source of the smoke when the first of the ka-booms occurred. A second one followed shortly after, and then ten minutes later the third one rattled things. A fourth explosion took off some time later.
The fire was located in an underground electric vault and went out at 2:30 pm after the electric company secured the scene and isolated the problem. However the buildings nearby continued to register high levels of carbon monoxide inside throughout the day.
WDRB-TV filed this good video report from the scene:
The blasts occurred during a time in which that street would have been heavily traveled had it been a weekday. "We’re definitely fortunate with the timing of it," said Brian Phillips, a spokesman for the electric company. "It could have been worse."
Read the full report from the Louisville Courier-JournalHERE.
A RECLUSIVE PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA, MAN who was scheduled to be evicted from his apartment Thursday foiled the sheriff by blowing up his unit early in the morning. Mark Williams, 60, was found dead in his 5th-floor apartment after the blast shook the entire 9-story building and started a fire that extended into other units and filled the entire building with thick smoke.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports:
Investigators believe Williams uncapped the gas line to his stove, causing an explosion about 7:15 a.m. when the fumes reached an ignition source, such as a space heater or other appliance, fire Chief Darryl Jones said.
"I woke when I heard an explosion that shook the walls," said Tom Korpar, 24, a second-year dental student at the University of Pittsburgh. "My kitchen wall, which shared his kitchen wall, was blown in. I could see right into his kitchen. I guess I was lucky. I slept in today, otherwise I would have been right there in the kitchen, cooking eggs."
The blast cracked an exterior wall of the building, but an engineer said the damage was cosmetic, Jones said. The fire and blast damaged 126 of the complex's 191 units.
Williams, who was described by his neighbors as, "reclusive," "hard to know," and "troubled" had been involved in a 15-year legal battle with his homeowners association of his refusal to pay his condo fees. After the dues and interest grew to an outlandish total, the HA was able to get a judge to order a sheriff's sale of the unit and Williams was scheduled to be evicted Thursday.
The nature of the call and the occupancy led to a quick elevation of the dispatch to 7 alarms as firefighters scrambled to get to the approx. 200 occupants still inside with the building filled with smoke.
KDKA-TV filed this video report:
Williams was the only fatality and the only injuries reported were for a few people affected by smoke inhalation.
A SMALL TRUCK FILLED WITH FIREWORKS was accidentally set alight Friday in a Central Mexican village that was celebrating their patron saint. It is believed that an errant sky rocket set off by a celebrant landed on the truck and ignited the cargo. The resulting blast hurled bodies about and killed several people immediately.
"They were in a procession, they were shooting off rockets and it exploded and fell onto the other ones," said Jose Mateo Morales, director of the Tlaxcala state civil protection department. "It was very serious."
Human remains and burned clothes were spread around a 100-yard (100-meter) radius, including on rooftops, a photographer at the scene said.
The victims were marching in an annual procession in honor of Jesus Christ, the patron saint of Jesus Tepactepec, a village of about 1,000 people, Mateo Morales said.
Helicopters, dozens of ambulances and soldiers from the area's military base rushed to the village, about 70 miles east of Mexico City.
At the time of this posting the tolls had risen to 13 dead and 154 injured. The counts are expected to rise as more victims are found.
BETHLEHEM, PENNSYLVANIA, POLICE and other agencies in a regional drug crimes task force were all set for a 6 am raid on a suspected meth lab house in the city this morning (Friday). The search warrant had been received and all plans for the surprise raid finalized. But to everyone's surprise, at 3 am the fire department got an early invitation via 9-1-1 when a destructive ka-boom inside the house altered the evidence and sent several people to the hospital.
The firefighters needed some decontamination of
the chemical residues. (Express-Times / Wyncoop photo)
The Lehigh Valley Express-Times is reporting:
An injured woman was found at the home, and she was taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg, police said.
Police developed information that there were other people in the home at the time of the blast. Two men and two more women eventually arrived at the hospital for treatment. The men had fled the explosion in a van that was later found in the parking lot of the Bethlehem Square Shopping Center in the township. It had to be decontaminated by the Pennsylvania State Police Clandestine Laboratory team.
The men were driven to the hospital in another vehicle, police said.
Two Bethlehem police officers who responded to Greenleaf Street were injured; one had chemical burns and the other had symptoms from inhaling chemicals. Both were treated at a hospital and released, police said.
The State Police clandestine laboratory team processed
the evidence on the front sidewalk. (Express-Times / Wojcik)
Read the full article in the Express-TimesHERE.
Bethlehem Patch has MORE.
AN EXPLOSION IN A STEEL CASTINGS plant in Granite City, Illinois, Thursday injured at least ten people, two of them critically.
The blast occurred around 8 am in the Cleaning and Finishing department of the American Steel Foundries facility – Amsted Rail - which makes railroad car undercarriages. wheel assemblies, and related parts.
The Belleville News-Democrat reported:
The two men critically injured were airlifted to Mercy Hospital St. Louis in Creve Coeur, Mo. A third person was airlifted from Granite City to Missouri, according to Erin Echelmeyer, spokeswoman for Gateway Regional Medical Center in Granite City. However, Echelmeyer did not know further details about the third airlifted worker's whereabouts.
A total of 10 injured workers were transported to Gateway on Thursday morning, Echelmeyer said. Of these 10, three were airlifted and seven were treated and released from Gateway.
United Steelworkers of America Local 1063 President Robert Lott, who represents workers at the plant, said he was in the building and standing about 100 yards from the scene of the explosion when it happened. Lott said Reginald Golliday, who has worked at the railroad carriage manufacturing plant for the past 17 years, may have suffered two broken legs, a large gash on his forehead and internal injuries. He also said that Danny Wilson, a 10-year veteran at the plant, suffered a broken leg and internal injuries.
All of the injured employees were standing on a wooden platfore or loading dock and the early indications are that there was a gas leak beneath the platform that ignited and caused the blast. KTVI-TV also reported:
The force of the blast sent workers flying through the air. Clifford McIntyre, a steel worker, went to help his fellow employees who were injured. He said, "All I heard was an explosion when I went back to see what was going on I seen a couple of my Union brothers out and on fire."
Fire Chief Tim Connolly said, "They said there was a gas explosion." United Steel Union V.P. Bobby Washington was working inside the plant. "When the explosion happened they don’t know what it was but it blew workers from their job and they were damaged and burning," he said.
Workers became one, rescuing the injured. McIntyre said, "First reaction was to put him out with my jacket and then another union brother came over with a fire extinguisher and put him out."
AN EXPLOSION RATTLED A CHEMICAL PLANT in LaPorte, Texas, Monday afternoon and started a large fire that generated the classic fireballs. The plant manufactures plastics and had about 80-100 workers at the site when the accident occurred.
The fire broke out shortly after 1 p.m. at Akzo Nobel Polymer Chemicals located north of Highway 225. There was an explosion in a unit that produces a co-catalyst used in the making of plastic, company officials said.
Company spokeswoman Debbie Sullivan said the situation was under control in about 45 minutes. "Our internal emergency response team did respond to it, it was declared under control about a quarter to 2, it’s still burning but we’re just trying to let it burn itself out," Sullivan said. "We did have one contract maintenance employee who was injured and sent to Herman Memorial Hospital. I don’t know the extent of the injuries."
KTRK-TV shared some raw video of the blaze:
KHOU-TV filed this video report from the scene:
It is not yet known what caused the explosion that started it all.
Massive Explosion and Fire Levels One Building,
Damages Eight Others.
A HUGE EXPLOSION THAT ROCKED an industrial park near Vernal, Utah, was felt for as many as 30 miles away early Saturday morning.
The blast occurred shortly after midnight at the Adler Hot Oil Services headquarters and immediately leveled one building while heavily damaging eight others. Two homes in the area also received some damage.
The explosion in the Ashley Valley Industrial Park destroyed one building and damaged eight others, said Chief Todd Wallis, with the Jensen Fire Department. There were no reports of anyone hurt or killed by the explosion.
The large blast shook much of the Basin and flooded the central dispatch center with calls from residents. It occurred around 12:15 a.m. Crews arrived on the scene and immediately began searching the area surrounding the explosion.
An evacuation order was issued for everybody within a half-mile radius of the explosion. Fire crews brought the blaze under control within hours, but the evacuation order was expected to remain in place until noon Saturday, as crews are still dealing with a leaky propane tank at the scene.
The leaking tank is reported to be a 1,000 gal. propane tank.
The fire was knocked down after "a few" hours, but units were being kept on the scene until the propane tank problem was mitigated. It was expected to be resolved by 1 pm Mountain. The tank is believed to have been damaged by the explosion and not a cause of the accident.
No word on what caused the explosion, but Uintah County Emergency Manager Tal Ehlers told Fox 13 there are no fatalities or injuries. Everyone living within a 1/2 mile radius of the blast site was evacuated.
The Red Cross has a temporary shelter on stand-by at Vernal Middle School at 721 West 100 South in Vernal. We talked with Red Cross Director of Communications Teresa Zundel who issued this statement: "The Red Cross works around the clock to help Utahns in need. We have a shelter open for evacuees at Vernal Middle School. People can come for food, shelter or information. We will be here in Vernal as long as we are needed."
THE RESIDENTS OF HARROGATE, TENNESSEE, started their day with a jolt Monday morning when a truck repair shop in the rural community blew up and started burning around 6 am.
Claiborne Progress photo
The Claiborne Progress reported:
According to officials, a neighbor heard a large explosion and looked out to find the roof of Hunley Repair Shop already collapsed with the building in flames. The building was the former home of Imperial Trucking.
Seven fire trucks responded to the scene, in addition to the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Department and Claiborne County EMS and EMA, according to Harrogate Volunteer Fire Department Chief Rick Davis.
A second large explosion occurred as the firefighters were setting up their hoses but no one was injured.
WATE-TV has this video report:
Nobody was inside the building when the fire started and no injuries have been reported. The 22-yr.-old business repairs tank trucks and mounts new tanks on truck chassis.
Investigations are ongoing to find the cause for the explosion.
There were several vehicles damaged from the explosion: A large truck that the business was working on, a jet-ski or boat, a Dodge truck, Ford Mustang and a Chevy Blazer.
The Claiborne Progress has the STORY.
WBIR-TV has more details and additional video HERE.
Update, 6 am Central Wednesday: Injury report revised to approx. 16 with 3 critical. Two people still missing. Scroll down for recent additions to this report. Also more videos added.
Update #2, 10:30 am Central: One person remains missing, believed in rubble. Heavy snow storm moving in. Scroll down.
Update #3, 1:30 pm Central: Final missing victim found. Mayor James announced this afternoon that a body was retrieved from the rubble in the bar area of the southwest corner of the building. He was not able to disclose the sex of the victim, but it is known that the only person believed to be missing was a female server who worked in the restaurant. Mayor James made the announcement along with an update on the injury report in this video:
A LARGE, 4-ALARM FIRE IN A KANSAS CITY, Missouri, upscale neighborhood Tuesday evening completely destroyed a large restaurant and heavily damaged several other buildings.
The fire began around 6 pm Central following the ka-boom just outside JJ's Restaurant in the Country Club Plaza area of downtown Kansas City. People in and around the restaurant smelled gas and the management immediately evacuated the restaurant, probably saving several lives by doing so. As the patrons were being escorted out, the employees were rapidly shutting down all appliances in the kitchen when it went off.
At the time of this posting, at least 20 known injuries had been taken to hospitals, both by ambulance and self-transportation. Two people are reported in critical condition.
The fire spread to exposures causing more damage, but they appear to be mostly concrete structures limiting the penetration.
KCTV has some good aerial footage of the fire at its peak:
Viewing the live-stream coverage, it was seen that the FD had the fire knocked down by 9 pm. The restaurant itself is completely consumed.
Google Street View of the Restaurant
Cadaver dogs are on the scene to check the entire restaurant rubble after the debris cools enough to permit them to enter.
KCTV has a 20-image photo gallery HERE.
KSHB-TV has additional videos photos with links to more articles HERE.
Update, 6 am Central Wednesday:
Fire-Rescue are still searching for two people, believed to be restaurant employees, that are still unaccounted for. A message went out that one of them was in a hospital, but they have not been able to verify that. All casualty numbers are still approximate and liable to be adjusted.
The area had already been restricted due to construction work in the street earlier Tuesday. Many witnesses are telling the press that they had called the gas company an hour or more before the blast to report a strong smell of gas in the area. KCTV is reporting this morning:
Missouri Gas & Energy owns and operates the natural gas distribution line servicing the area. The utility company had a crew in the area working after receiving reports of a strong smell of gas about an hour before the explosion. About 30 minutes before the explosion, gas crews asked those in a nearby building to evacuate. The status of the MGE employees and contractors was unclear Tuesday night.
The owner of the restaurant, Jimmy Frantze, told KCTV5's Stacey Cameron that he was en route from Oklahoma. His brother at the scene told him that a crew was digging for fiber optics to a new hotel on the Plaza when they struck a gas line.
Frantze said JJ's "literally exploded." He said four of his employees were critically injured and one employee had been unaccounted for. A wall in the kitchen collapsed, injuring several seriously. The gas crews had blocked off areas, meaning fewer people were enjoying happy hour at JJ's than normal.
KCTV5's Dave Eckert was about a block from the restaurant about 30 minutes before the explosion. He described a strong smell of gas.
Fire Chief Berardi and Mayor James provided an update at a news conference:
KSHB-TV also has a 44-image photo gallery posted HERE.
Update #2, 10:30 am Central:
Fire Chief Berardi stated this morning that there is just one person missing in the explosion zone, a female employee of the restaurant. A second person thought to have been missing has been located in one of the hospitals being treated for injuries. CBS News has added:
(A major snow storm that is) due to reach Kansas City by Wednesday night could dump as much as 10 inches of snow on the city, adding even greater urgency to the effort to find a female employee who was last seen before the Tuesday evening blast and inferno that turned JJ's restaurant into blackened ruins.
Crews using heavy equipment moved delicately to lift away the heavy debris left by the blast. One of two people first feared to be missing was later found receiving treatment at a hospital, and Mayor Sly James stressed that finding the missing restaurant worker would remain the primary focus of Wednesday's efforts.
"We have a major storm coming in this evening," James said. "We're going to work diligently to get in (to the blast site) to get underneath that weather." Fire Chief Paul Berardi declined to release any information about the missing woman except that she worked at JJ's.
Just hours before the blast, many in the area had been complaining of a strong smell of gas, reporter Dave Hall of CBS Kansas City affiliate KCTV-TV reported on "CBS This Morning" Wednesday.
"We finally called the gas company," Dr. John Verstraete, who works at Plaza Physicians Group next door to JJ's, told CBS. "They came out. They checked inside our building, said that we needed to evacuate. It wasn't two minutes when we were grabbing our stuff and the explosion hit, and it hit you like a shockwave."
Missouri Gas Energy, which supplies the area, said in a statement that "early indications are that a contractor doing underground work struck a natural gas line."
Cadaver dogs searched the rubble Tuesday night but did not find anything, so heavy equipment was brought in at dawn to remove several feet of heavy debris, James said.
Berardi said firefighters were called about 5:15 p.m. Tuesday with a report that a construction worker had hit a gas line near the restaurant. Firefighters conferred with MGE workers and left the scene, and the explosion occurred about 45 minutes later. He said the cause of the gas leak and fire is still unknown.
"Once we confirm the victim is or isn't inside the building, that part of the investigation will continue," Berardi said.
TWO BROTHERS IN WICHITA, KANSAS, wanted to celebrate their $75,000 winning lottery ticket this past Friday. So they went out and bought a weekend's worth of marijuana and meth, took it all back home and proceeded to blow up their house.
The home was part of a duplex and the woman who lived in the other half told the press that on Friday evening around 7 pm she heard "a big boom!" and then someone screaming, "Get out!" Mary Jewitt, the neighbor said that it shook the whole house and then she saw smoke coming from the front door.
Sgt. Bruce Watts of the Wichita Police Department said that the brothers were in a house in the 100 block of North Nevada Court, near Douglas and West Street, about 7 p.m. Friday, Watts said. One of the brothers went to the kitchen to refuel the butane torches they planned to use to light their bongs. He emptied a couple of large cans of butane lighter fluid, leaking butane into the air.
"The butane vapor reached the pilot light in the furnace, and as you might expect, ka-boom," Watts said.
The victim’s girlfriend loaded him and some children into a car and took him to the Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis emergency room, where she dropped him off and left.
Officers went to the house with a warrant, where the other brother ran out, admitting he had marijuana and methamphetamine. He was arrested.
The 27-yr.-old burn victim had 2nd-degree burns on his hands, arms and chest. He arrived still wearing his Kansas Lottery souvineer T-shirt and was released yesterday (Monday). The other brother is still in jail as far as we know.
A HOME IN BATH, MAINE, WAS leveled when it blew up early Tuesday morning. The explosion in the brick duplex shook the entire area at 5 am this morning and damaged nearby homes and cars, waking up the entire neighborhood. When the FD arrived they found the building pile and several automobiles burning, but all were handled easily.
Five people were believed to be inside the two apartments and four of them survived. The fifth resident was unaccounted for at first, but after a few hours the body of a woman was found in the rubble. The debris field of the blast covered a quarter-mile radius.
The local fire chief says that the house was heated by propane, but has not yet determined if that was the cause of the blast.
WCSH-TV posted this video report from the scene:
The coroner has claimed the body of the unidentified victim and removed it just after noon. Local and state investigators are now on the scene trying to find clues to the cause of the blast.
The Keenebec Journal has the story and details HERE. The Forecaster had MORE.
The Bangor Daily News has more HERE.
Around 7:40 a.m., a loud explosion occurred at the Air Liquide plant at 11450 W. Fairmont Parkway, just west of Bay Area Boulevard. The blast, which occurred in a metal building on the site, triggered a fire that filled the area with heavy smoke. About 15 to 20 employees were believed to be on site at the time, a company spokesman said.
Rescue workers brought in heavy equipment and searched for hours before recovering the body. "There's been a lot of structural collapse inside so we've got a lot of safety issues," said Lt. Dean Hensley with the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office.
Gases, including oxygen, nitrogen and argon, are mixed at the plant into cylinders that are used in the processing of such items as food, beverages and electronics, according to a company spokesman.
Air Liquide describes itself as "the world leader in gases for industry, health and the environment." Headquartered in Houston, the company has more than 200 locations, including about 130 gas plants and 2,000 miles of pipeline, the website states.
KPRC-TV provided some raw video from the blast site:
Between 10 to 20 employees were inside the plant, and soon after it happened, we got word that one worker had been injured and another was missing. Search crews spent the next several hours searching for him — until finally, a body was discovered Saturday evening.
Dean Hensley with the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office said the medical examiner hasn't yet identified the body. But late Saturday evening, his family says they received word from authorities that 30-year-old Javier Ortiz is the worker that was found dead.
"We just ask for prayers for our family, from Houstonians and for God to help us in this difficult time," his wife, Julie Ortiz said. She says she and her husband have three children, aged 3, 5, and 7.
"I just want everyone to know he's a wonderful father of three and he's loved very much," she said. "We're very active in our church. We're good people. He's a chemist and I'm a teacher at a high school."
Emergency responders used a canine unit from CyFair Fire Department, heavy equipment and a HAZMAT team to search for him, but the mission wasn't easy. In fact, his body was still buried under the rubble by 10pm Saturday. Investigators say they're having trouble getting it out.
A second employee was injured the blast. He was taken by LifeFlight to UTMB's burn unit in Galveston, where his family says he is in critical condition.
That man's family say he's suffered burns to more than 75 percent of his body, and he's not speaking right now. They say the victim worked at the plant for at least 10 years and has two daughters.
KTRK-TV also filed this video report:
KTRK-TV has additional details and more videos posted HERE.