Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Investigators Suspect Possible Bomb in California Medical Building

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Investigators Suspect Possible Bomb in California Medical Building


Emergency and disaster management briefing for May 16, 2018: Investigators comb through debris for a possible detonator after a California building explosion kills one, severe weather in the Northeast on Tuesday killed at least five people, the USGS has upgraded its warning from orange to red for Mount Kilauea, Highway 64 in Polk County, Tennessee remains closed after a tanker truck plunged into the Ocoee River, fire fighters are addressing hot spots after a major fire destroys an historic Lutheran church in Milwaukee, the death of a suspect in police custody in Louisiana is ruled a homicide, India is being slammed with fierce sandstorms and thunderstorms that have killed at least 89 people, and two airplanes collide at Turkey's Istanbul Ataturk Airport.

  1. One person is dead and three others were injured in a building explosion in Southern California on Tuesday afternoon. The explosion occurred in a medical building in Aliso Viejo, just south of Los Angeles, and local and federal investigators, who have labeled the blast as suspicious, are now combing the debris for a possible detonator. Officials reportedly suspect that the blast might have originated with a package inside the building due to the size of the blast and the damage to the building. 
  2. Strong storms that ripped through the Northeast on Tuesday left five people dead, and almost a half a million people were left without power. The severe weather included strong thunderstorms, baseball-sized hail, possible tornadoes, flash flooding, and wind speeds of up to 80 mph. Damages caused by the severe weather, including uprooted trees and downed power lines, caused Amtrak to cancel its service in the northeast and also caused the suspension of all Metro North lines, stranding thousands of commuters at Grand Central Station in New York City.  
  3. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has issued a red alert for Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, due to an increase in intensity and the imminent threat of an eruption with a large amount of ash being expelled into the atmosphere by the volcano. The USGS also warns that activity from the volcanic eruption may become more explosive at any time, launching ballistic projectiles into the air near the vent. At least 20 fissures, many of them spewing lava and toxic gases, have opened since the volcano's eruption began 12 days ago, which has caused the evacuation of nearly 2,000 people and the destruction of more than 25 homes in the area.  
  4. Highway 64 in Polk County, Tennessee, remains closed in both directions after a tanker hauling fuel crashed through a guard rail and went into the Ocoee River late Tuesday. The tanker is leaking fuel into the river, and crews set booms to help absorb the leaking fuel, although the environmental impact of the fuel leak is still unknown. Crews are working to remove the remaining fuel from the truck before they attempt to lift it from the river. Emergency management officials have stated that the road, which is a heavily traversed two lane road and major truck route, will remain closed until the scene is safe for travel, which adds at least one and half hours of travel time to many commuters in the area. 
  5. Fire fighters in Wisconsin battled a major fire at an historic church in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Tuesday. A call about a fire on the roof was received at around 3:45 p.m., sending at least 85 fire fighting personnel to the scene to try to contain the blaze. The hot flames toppled one spire and collapsed the roof, leaving just a shell of the oldest Lutheran church in Milwaukee, however, there were no reported injuries from the fire.  
  6. The death of a 22-year-old black man, Keevan Robinson, in police custody in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana has been ruled a homicide by the county coroner. Robinson, who was targeted in an undercover narcotics investigation, fled from police, crashing his vehicle, taking off on foot and jumping four fences, before police finally caught up with him in a backyard. During the struggle to apprehend him, Robinson stopped breathing, and was taken to Ochsner Medical Center, but could not be resuscitated.  
  7. India has been hard hit by what weather experts are calling extreme sandstorms and thunderstorms which have caused major damage and killed at least 86 people and injured at least 100 others. The violent storms have produced winds in excess of 60 mph, toppling trees and power lines, destroying homes, and capsizing a boat which resulted in the deaths of eight people. Officials are citing this season's storms, which included 40,000 lightning strikes in Uttar Pradesh on May 1 that killed 14 people, as the second deadliest on record.  
  8. A collision between two airplanes on the tarmac at Turkey's Istanbul Ataturk Airport on Sunday strongly jolted one of the planes as part of the tail was severed off. An Asiana Airlines Airbus A33o was taxiing when its wing clipped the tail of a Turkish Airlines Airbus A321, appearing to shear off the tail of the Turkish airplane. Fire crews immediately responded to the scene and hosed down the airplane, but no injuries were reported as a result of the incident.  

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.