Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Pileup on I-64 Likely Due to Icy Bridge and Heavy Fog
EDM Monday Briefing: Pileup on I-64 Likely Due to Icy Bridge and Heavy Fog

EDM Monday Briefing: Pileup on I-64 Likely Due to Icy Bridge and Heavy Fog


Emergency and disaster management briefing for December 23, 2019: An icy bridge and heavy fog may be to blame for a 69-vehicle pileup on I-64 in Virginia; two grain cars fell into the Potomac River after a CSX freight train derailed; six people died in an apartment fire in Las Vegas; officials shut down the Hollywood/Ft. Lauderdale International Airport briefly due to flash flooding caused by severe storms; three unoccupied passenger buses caught fire at LAX Saturday; the Deep South has been hit hard by the flu season; the death toll from the White Island volcanic eruption has now reached 17; and travelers visiting the Richmond International Airport on December 17 may have been exposed to the measles.

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1) An icy bridge, coupled with thick, heavy fog that reduced visibility, likely led to a 69-car pileup on Interstate 64 in York County, Virginia, near Williamsburg, early Sunday morning. The major crash occurred in the westbound lanes, then rubberneckers caused crashes in the eastbound lanes, which prompted authorities to close the highway in both directions for more than six hours. A total of 55 people were transported to area hospitals with injuries, including 11 with serious injuries.

2) A CSX freight train hauling seven empty grain cars derailed Saturday at Harper's Ferry, causing two of its freight cars to tumble into the Potomac River. The rail bridge was not damaged during the derailment; however, the wooden footbridge over the Potomac River -- a piece of the Appalachian Trail -- was damaged. According to the National Park Service, it is closed until further notice. The rail bridge re-opened Sunday after the two CSX cars were put back on the track.

3) Six people died in an apartment fire in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada, that began before sunrise Saturday. Investigators are looking for code violations after firefighters arrived on the scene to find residents using their stoves for heat and smoke alarms going off, but not the fire alarms. An additional 13 people were also injured in the blaze that began on the first floor and prompted some residents to jump from upper-story windows.

4) The Hollywood-Ft. Lauderdale International Airport has re-opened after heavy rains caused flash flooding at the airport and halted all inbound and outbound flights Sunday night. The area was hit with severe storms that dumped up to six inches of rain and caused a brief shutdown of the airport by officials as the result of some areas not being accessible. The heavy rains also flooded the airport access roads and area highways, which caused major traffic delays in and out of the airport.

5) Three unoccupied passenger buses caught fire at the Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday night. Two of the liquid propane-powered buses were destroyed, and a third was damaged when the fire broke out at around 9:00 p.m. It took firefighters about a half hour to fully contain the blaze, which briefly disrupted traffic in the area.

6) The flu season is in full swing, with at least 19 states -- most of them in the south -- reporting high numbers of flu-like cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated the total number of cases so far this season at 3.7 million, with 32,000 requiring hospitalization. There have been a total of 1,800 deaths, with the majority of the flu illnesses resulting from the Influenza B/Victoria viruses.

7) Another person has died from injuries sustained during a visit to the volcano on White Island near New Zealand. The death toll from the volcano's sudden eruption has now risen to a total of 17 people, with the latest victim dying at the Middlemore Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand. Two people remain missing after the deadly eruption; their bodies are believed to have been washed out to sea.

8) Anyone who traveled through the Richmond International Airport in December may have been exposed to the measles. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported that a person with a confirmed case of the measles arrived on an evening flight into the airport on December 17. The infected person also visited HealthVisionsMD in Midlothian on the afternoon of Thursday, December 19. Health officials caution at-risk individuals who may have come in contact with the infected person that symptoms can occur until January 11, 2020.


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.