Home Emergency Management News EDM Friday Briefing: Hudson River Train Derailment, Montana Earthquake

EDM Friday Briefing: Hudson River Train Derailment, Montana Earthquake


Emergency and disaster management briefing for July 7, 2017: A New Jersey Transit train derails in the Hudson River Tunnel, Montana and surrounding states are rocked by a 5.8 magnitude earthquake, dead, beetle killed pine trees fuel the Breckenridge, Colorado fire, Dartmouth College confirms a student has the mumps, Clif Bar & Co issues a voluntary recall of three bar varieties, a strong earthquake in the Philippines causes widespread injuries and damages, fire fighters battle extreme weather and terrain trying to contain Utah's Brian Head Fire, and extreme heat prompts wildfire and health warnings across the Southwest.

  1. New Jersey Transit rail service at Penn Station in Manhattan was suspended on Thursday due to the derailment of one of its trains in the Hudson River Tunnel.  The incident occurred at about 8:55 p.m. when one of the cars on an New Jersey Transit train that was carrying about 100 people, derailed outside the station. The incident is just the latest in a long line of problems that have plagued the station and the train system over recent months due to failing and aging infrastructure that includes power outages, signal problems, and other derailments.
  2. Residents of Western Montana were jolted awake shortly after midnight on Thursday by a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked the area and caused some minor damage. The shallow quake occurred about three miles underground and originated approximately six miles south of Lincoln, Montana and also impacted the cities of Helena and Missoula. Within an hour, at least nine aftershocks were recorded ranging from 3.1 to 4.9 magnitude, and reports indicate that the original quake was felt into Idaho, Washington, Wyoming, and Canada.
  3. Evacuations remain in place for more than 400 residents in areas surrounding Breckenridge, Colorado as crews continue to battle a blaze that has consumed at least 85 acres between Breckenridge and Frisco. Pre-evacuation notices have been issued for the town of Breckenridge along with the Silver Shekel, Gold Hill, and Farmer's Korner neighborhoods. Fire fighters are having difficulty containing the blaze, dubbed the Peak 2 Fire, because it is being fueled by dead, beetle killed pine trees in an area that is heavily forested and amid rugged, rocky terrain.
  4. A Dartmouth College student has been placed in isolation after health officials confirmed the individual has the mumps. In an effort to prevent the spread of mumps across campus, school officials are urging students with health concerns to contact the Dartmouth College Health Services and asking faculty and staff to contact their primary care physicians. Experts caution that if the virus, which is contagious, is left untreated, life-threatening complications could arise, and symptoms of the disease can appear anywhere from 16 up to 25 days after infection.
  5. A voluntary recall has been issued by the Clif Bar & Co for three varieties of its bars due to the potential presence of peanuts and other tree nuts. The bars, two of which are specifically made for children, lack an allergy warning on the label and have been identified as Clif Kid Zbars protein chocolate mint and protein chocolate chip varieties, along with the Clif Builders chocolate mint flavored bar. The recall was issued after the company received complaints that some customers were suffering from allergic reactions after consuming the bars. 
  6. A magnitude 6.5 earthquake that struck the Philippines on Thursday afternoon has killed two people, injured over 100 others, and resulted in widespread damages. The quake caused landslides, cracked roads and buildings, and damaged a power plant. A collapsed building in the town of Kanaga killed one person, injured at least 20, and trapped 6 others who were later rescued. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake was centered just two miles from Masarayao at a shallow depth of about four miles, which often causes greater surface damage.
  7. Fire fighters are struggling to contain the human-caused Brian Head Fire that began on June 17 and is raging across southwestern Utah amid scorching heat, low humidity, and extremely dry conditions. The blaze has already consumed over 70,500 acres and is being fought by nearly 1,100 personnel. Erratic winds and steep, rugged terrain have hindered effective containment efforts, resulted in road closures for fire fighting activity, and caused the evacuation order for multiple communities to remain in effect.
  8. Officials across the Southwest cautioned residents of extreme heat and increased wildfire dangers as dry, hot winds kicked up Thursday night and temperatures were predicted to skyrocket on Friday. Officials in Santa Barbara County, California issued red flag warnings for its mountains and south coastal areas, while other fire warnings remain in effect from Sequoia to Yosemite due to dry air and high temperatures accompanied by increased winds. Arizona and Las Vegas were also issued excessive heat warnings by the National Weather Service, with Friday temperatures forecasted to reach 117 and 113 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. 

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.