Home Emergency Management News EDM Friday Briefing: Five Dead in Annapolis Newspaper Shooting; Colorado Wildfire Prompts Evacuations

EDM Friday Briefing: Five Dead in Annapolis Newspaper Shooting; Colorado Wildfire Prompts Evacuations

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By Kim Arsenault
Contributor, EDM Digest

Emergency and disaster management briefing for June 29, 2018: Authorities say the shooting at an Annapolis, Maryland newspaper that left five dead was targeted; a rapidly moving wildfire in Colorado prompts evacuations and destroys homes; an eruption at Mount Agung in Indonesia closes Bali's international airport – stranding thousands of passengers; authorities in Pennsylvania arrest a suspect in relation to a series of explosions in two counties; contaminated irrigation canals may be to blame for the E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce this spring; firefighters face Red Flag warnings this weekend while fighting the Pawnee Fire in northern California; severe storms caused widespread damage in the mid-Mississippi Valley and resulted in one fatality; and search and rescue efforts continue in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Thailand for 12 boys and their soccer coach.

  1. A shooting at The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland on Thursday afternoon left five people dead and two others injured. The suspect, identified as Jarrod W. Ramos, 38, allegedly entered the building with a shotgun and smoke bombs. Police also reportedly found a possible explosive device, which they rendered harmless. According to reports, the suspect, who was arrested at the scene by police, held a long-standing grudge against the paper, which may have prompted the shooting.
  2. A wildfire that erupted on Wednesday in Fort Garland, located in southern Colorado's Castillo County, has forced the evacuations of about 350 homes in the area, as firefighters struggle to dig containment lines amid critical fire weather conditions. High heat, bone-dry vegetation, rough terrain and high winds are hampering firefighting efforts, causing firefighters to chase the fire rather than being able to work towards containment. The wildfire has rapidly consumed more than 14,400 acres, remains 0 percent contained, has destroyed an unknown number of structures, and is also being fought by air tankers and helicopters amid high winds that make it both difficult and dangerous.
  3. The International Airport in Bali, Indonesia, was closed Friday, stranding thousands of passengers, after a volcanic eruption sent ash over 8,000 feet into the air. Mount Agung, which was last active in December of 2017, erupted again and caused the airport closure. So far, authorities monitoring the volcano have not increased the alert level. The airport closure impacted a total of 48 domestic and international flights, with Air Asia, Jet Star, Qantas and Virgin being some of the airlines that cancelled flights.
  4. Authorities in Pennsylvania have made an arrest following a series of loud explosions that had been occurring overnight in two counties since April. Residents in Bucks and Lehigh counties reported explosions strong enough to shake their homes. On Thursday, authorities arrested David Surman, Jr., 30, of Milford Township and owner of Consolidated Chemicals. Surman faces multiple charges, including possession of a weapon of mass destruction, after police found a large bomb -- nearly 18 inches long with multiple fuses -- during their investigation.
  5. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may have found the contamination source for the romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak that killed five and sickened more than 200 people this spring. Tests conducted on water from irrigation canals used for the lettuce showed the presence of the O157:H7 strain of E. coli bacteria. Officials noted that the contaminated canal water may have been the culprit, but tests are ongoing. Any additional or new information will be communicated with the industry and the public as it becomes available.
  6. Fire crews in Northern California gained a bit of ground against a wildfire that forced at least 1,000 people to evacuate and destroyed at least 22 structures. The Pawnee Fire, which began Saturday in Lake County, north of San Francisco and near Clear Lake, has now consumed 13,700 acres. The fire continues to grow amid above-average temperatures, low relative humidity and erratic winds. The wildfire was 50 percent contained as of Thursday evening, but a Red Flag Warning for the weekend may hamper firefighting efforts. Current resources deployed to fight the wildfire include more than 3,000 personnel, 203 fire engines, 17 helicopters, 47 dozers and 72 fire crews.
  7. Severe storms that rolled through Alabama, Missouri, western Tennessee, and Illinois left one person dead and nearly a quarter of a million people without power on Thursday. The storm-related fatality occurred in Lineville, Alabama when a 29-year-old man driving his car collided with a fallen tree, sending it careening into a neighbor's yard. The storms caused widespread damage throughout the region, uprooting trees, downing power lines, tearing off roofs and spawning an EF1 tornado in Hickman County, Tennessee.
  8. The search continues for a group of 12 boys and their soccer coach who went missing last Saturday in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Thailand. Thirty members from the U.S. Pacific Command have now joined in the rescue effort, and a new hidden opening, like a chimney, has been found deep in the jungle that may provide access to the cave system below. Searchers are also rethinking the theory they had about which way the group turned at a junction point in the caves, noting the group may have actually turned right, leading them north and to the highest ground. Up to this point, search and rescue teams have been focusing their search on the left fork in the caves, but hope remains that the group will still be found alive.

Kimberly Arsenault Kimberly Arsenault serves as an intern at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency where she works on plan revisions and special projects. Previously, Kimberly spent 15 years in commercial and business aviation. Her positions included station manager at the former Midwest Express Airlines, as well as corporate flight attendant, inflight manager, and charter flight coordinator. Kimberly currently holds a master's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Public University.