Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: One Firefighter Killed, Six Injured in Maine Building Explosion
EDM Monday Briefing: One Firefighter Killed, Six Injured in Maine Building Explosion

EDM Monday Briefing: One Firefighter Killed, Six Injured in Maine Building Explosion

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for September 16, 2019: Hurricane Humberto stirs up heavy swells and surf along the coast of the southeastern United States; a full-scale disaster drill at Chicago's O'Hare Airport was supported by more than 30 agencies and 100 volunteers; 22 people were injured in a three-story deck collapse in New Jersey; multiple wildfires burning in Colorado led to evacuations and power cuts for local residents; states involved in lawsuits against the pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma object to bankruptcy filing by the company; one firefighter was killed and six others injured when a building exploded in Maine; investigators suspect arson in a downtown building fire in San Jose that injured four firefighters; and the CDC and several states issued a warning about vaping after 450 lung-related illnesses were reported across 33 states.

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1) Humberto, now a Category 1 hurricane, currently poses no threat to the United States. It is expected to move to the east-northeast with some impact to Bermuda being possible. The storm has a minimum central pressure of 980 mb or 28.94 inches of mercury, with sustained winds of 85 mph with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is expected as the storm increases its forward speed. Humberto is causing heavy swells and surf along the southeastern United States, and residents are urged to monitor local weather channels and alerts for more information.

2) Emergency and disaster management teams from over 30 agencies, along with hundreds of volunteers who posed as injured passengers, participated in a full-scale disaster drill at the Chicago O'Hare International Airport on Saturday. The city's fire and police departments also participated in the drill, which tested communications, coordination and mobilization between the responding agencies. The planned, full-scale emergency exercise is required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) every three years for airports to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in preparedness.

3) A three-story deck collapse in Wildwood, New Jersey, on Saturday evening left 22 people injured, including several children. The event occurred along the Jersey Shore as the annual New Jersey Firemen's Convention was wrapping up. Several members of the Branchville Fire Department and their family members were among those injured during the collapse. However, 19 of those victims were treated at a nearby hospital and released by Sunday morning.

4) Several wildfires are burning in Colorado, including an 11-acre fire near Bailey that prompted area evacuations on Sunday. A 400-acre wildfire burning northwest of Fort Collins knocked out power for approximately 3,600 residents as firefighters, supported by aircraft, coordinated efforts to control the fire. Another wildfire south of Salida, ignited in a remote area by lightning on September 8, has scorched 350 acres. Although fire crews are closely monitoring the fire, they are letting it burn to improve forest health.

5) Purdue Pharma, the maker of the painkiller drug OxyContin, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy late Sunday night. The filing comes amid more than 2,600 federal and state lawsuits against the company due to the opioid crisis and allegedly comes after a settlement deal that seeks to prevent protracted litigation. OxyContin is widely seen as igniting the opioid crisis across the nation, and many of the states involved in the lawsuits object to the deal.

6) A building explosion in Farmington, Maine, killed one firefighter and injured at least six others on Monday morning. The building had been evacuated after reports of a gas smell; fire crews were investigating the smell when the explosion occurred at around 8:30 a.m. The blast completely destroyed the new building, leaving only a hole. According to reports, debris covered homes, buildings and cars throughout the neighborhood.

7) A three-alarm fire in a downtown building in San Jose, California, on Sunday is suspected to have been started by arson. Four firefighters were injured during the fire, and a body was found in the basement of the building after the blaze was extinguished. Police were initially called to the scene for a disgruntled individual who may have been a customer or former employee. The alleged suspect left the building, returned and set it on fire in multiple locations.

8) Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with several states, issued warnings on severe lung illnesses believed to be linked to vaping and the use of cannabis products in e-cigarettes. Over 450 lung-related illnesses have been reported across 33 states, including six fatalities. In almost every case, a chemical used in cannabis vaping products, a grease-like substance known as vitamin E acetate, was found in the lungs of the patients. Symptoms of the mysterious illness include shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting and fever.

 

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.