Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Carr Fire Update; Town's Entire Police Force Quits

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Carr Fire Update; Town's Entire Police Force Quits


Emergency and disaster management briefing for August 1, 2018: The Carr Fire in Northern California has become the state's seventh most destructive wildfire in history, mandatory evacuation orders for the Carr Fire included an entire city that should not have been evacuated in an extra mouse click error, an Aeromexico passenger jet crashed just after take off in Durango, Mexico, an entire police force in Massachusetts resigned on Monday evening citing unsafe working conditions, a suspect has been arrested in the active shooting incident that occurred on a Mississippi highway, a parking garage partial collapse highlights gaps in Texas inspection safety laws, a state of emergency was declared in Kalamazoo County, Michigan over contaminated city water supplies, and Brevard County, North Carolina public health officials are investigating a possible food-borne illness after multiple complaints and hospital visits by ill patients.

  1. The Carr Fire burning in Northern California is now the seventh most destructive wildfire in the state's history after it has destroyed 965 homes, damaged another 178, consumed nearly 113,000 acres, and is only 30 percent contained. The fire has claimed the lives of two firefighters, and currently, there are over 4,150 fire personnel that are being supported by 17 helicopters, 366 fire engines, 119 dozers, and 84 water tenders, all working to contain the blaze. Shifting winds, steep terrain, and previously unburned fuels are contributing to spot fire potential, while increasing winds on Wednesday will continue to hamper firefighting efforts.  
  2. Fire officials drafting mandatory evacuation orders accidentally sent out an order that included a city of about 10,000 people that did not need to evacuate--all due to an extra mouse click. The evacuation order included the entire Shasta Lake City, a town with a population of about 10,000 and located just north of Redding, when it should only have included Summit City, which was thought to be in danger. Evacuation planning is completed on a computer through the highlighting of areas in danger or at risk on maps, and officials stated that an accidental extra mouse click extended the evacuation order beyond the area immediately in danger.  
  3. An Aeromexico passenger jet crashed just after takeoff on Tuesday, in the northern state of Durango, Mexico. Flight 2431 departed at 3:08 p.m. local time from Durango, was headed to Mexico City, and had 103 souls on board, all of whom survived the crash, with the pilot being the most seriously injured. Details are still forthcoming as to what caused the Embraer 190 regional jet to crash into a field just after takeoff, but Mexican officials noted that the plane was trying to take off during a storm and may have encountered wind shear.  
  4. The entire police force in a Massachusetts town resigned from their jobs on Monday evening, citing unsafe working conditions, among other issues, as their reason for quitting. In a letter to the town, the four police officers, including their acting chief, brought to light conditions that led to their resignation, including expired, ill-fitting bullet-proof vests, police cruisers with failing brakes and other safety issues, and spotty radio and cell service service throughout town--leaving them potentially unable to call for backup in a dangerous situation. The letter also noted that the department is understaffed, with three positions unfilled, and officers sometimes had to respond to calls in their own vehicles due to the numerous issues with the police cruisers.  
  5. No one was injured when a man opened fire on U.S. Route 72 in Mississippi, west of Slayden, on Tuesday. The suspect fired at several vehicles, including a mail carrier and woman going to work, before burglarizing three homes and fleeing into a wooded area. Authorities found the suspect, Brandon Chambers, 28, hiding in a home in the wooded area around 3:00 p.m. and arrested him.  
  6. A partial parking garage collapse in Irving, Texas smashed 21 cars, but the Irving Fire Department technical rescue team, along with K9's, confirmed that no one was trapped or injured during the incident. A second portion of the garage collapsed just hours after the first collapse occurred, and damaged several more vehicles and took down part of the garage wall. An investigation into why the failures occurred is underway, and reports noted that Texas laws do not require structural inspections of parking garages after construction is complete.  
  7. A state of emergency was declared in Kalamazoo County, Michigan on Sunday due to contaminated city water supplies. Testing found high levels of dangerous and toxic chemicals in the water at levels 20 times the acceptable limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The EPA states that levels of PFASs--industrial chemicals known as polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl--should not be higher than 70 parts per trillion, while the city of Parchment in Kalamazoo County had levels as high as 1,140 parts per trillion.   
  8. Health officials in Brevard County, North Carolina are investigating a potential outbreak of a food borne illness after multiple people complained of symptoms of food poisoning on Monday night and multiple people presented to the Transylvania Regional Hospital on Tuesday. According to public health officials, a common link had not been found as of Tuesday evening, but interviews of patients were still be conducted.   The county health department also received complaints pertaining to a fast food restaurant beginning on Monday, and although the restaurant was investigated on Tuesday, nothing out of the ordinary was found. 

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.