Home Emergency Management News EDM Friday Briefing: Penn Station Bracing for Delays, Pet Food Recall

EDM Friday Briefing: Penn Station Bracing for Delays, Pet Food Recall

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for April 28, 2017: Penn Station commuters are bracing for delays as Amtrak begins rigorous summer repair schedule, a recall has been issued for Party Animal organic dog food after euthanasia drug found, the West Mims fire is fueled by high winds and pushes into drought-stricken areas, one person is dead in North Carolina as a result of flooding from heavy rainfall, the death toll in the Stockholm terror attack rises to five, Caltrans workers scramble to escape injury in California landslide, an off-duty Border Patrol agent may have accidentally caused Sawmill Fire in Arizona, and a helicopter crash that hits a home in North Carolina injures two.

  1. Amtrak will be closing tracks in Penn Station during the summer to complete major repairs that are long overdue, creating commuter headaches and delays. The company is expected to close three or four tracks at a time to avoid the mass chaos that occurred earlier this month when eight tracks had to be closed to due a train derailment. Badly deteriorating infrastructure has been neglected at Penn Station for years as financial problems have plagued Amtrak.
  2.  Party Animal has issued a recall for several of its organic dog foods after a euthanasia drug has potentially been found in the food. Recent samples of two of its organic canned varieties, Cocolicious Beef & Turkey and Cocolicious Chicken & Beef, presented by customers to an independent lab, tested positive for the drug, pentobarbital, a drug routinely used by veterinarians for euthanasia of dogs, cats, and horses. The canned food was distributed nationwide, and the company is actively working with its supplier to determine the origin of the drug in the food. 
  3. A fire burning in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge has grown to 115 square miles as high winds continue to push it into drought-stricken swamp areas. Named the West Mims Wildfire, it was ignited by a lightning strike on April 6 and is burning near the the Georgia-Florida line, with 529 fire fighters and support personnel assigned to help suppress the fire. The fire has consumed nearly 80,800 acres and is only 8 percent contained.
  4. Severe storms impacting the east coast have led to major flooding in North Carolina where at least one person has died after ignoring a barricaded roadway. The woman drown after driving her car around several barricades and her car was swept away by swiftly moving floodwaters that covered N.C. 58. The flooding was caused by storms that dumped as much as 8 inches of rain in some areas across the state, rains which helped overflow the Contentnea Creek in Greene County and flooded N.C. 58 near Stantonsburg.
  5.   The death toll in the Stockholm, Sweden terror attack on April 7 has risen to five after a woman in her 60s succumbed to her injuries, authorities announced on Friday. Fourteen people were also injured during the attack when a 39-year-old man, Rakhmat Akilov from Uzbekistan, rammed a truck into pedestrians on a crowded shopping street in the nation's capital city. Akilov was denied residency in 2016 and ordered to leave the nation, however authorities stated there was nothing to indicate the man was a threat even though he sympathized with extremist organizations. Akilov was arrested a short time after the attack in a northern suburb of Stockholm.
  6. A landslide in California has again forced the closure of the 101 Freeway in northern Mendocino County, just north of Leggett - in the exact location where another landslide had occurred just last month. The freeway had been reopened less than 24 hours earlier after just having been cleared from a previous landslide last month, and the slide had been somewhat active all day. Caltrans workers had just cleared some debris from the roadway when large rocks and debris began falling onto the highway. The slide increased, sending copious amounts of dirt and rocks across the road and knocking down a concrete barrier as workers below the slide scrambled to safety.
  7. Officials are indicating that the Sawmill Fire burning in Arizona may have accidentally been sparked by an off-duty Border Patrol agent during recreational shooting on April 23. The agent immediately reported the fire, and an investigation into the incident is underway. The Sawmill Fire has consumed almost 47,000 acres of land as of Thursday, and according to reports, is being fueled by gusty winds, low humidity, and broken topography, causing active to extreme fire behavior. Evacuations are occurring in communities threatened by the fire and homes, ranches, and infrastructure are at-risk from the blaze.
  8. In Catawba County, North Carolina, a helicopter that experienced trouble clipped a house and crashed on Thursday afternoon. The helicopter, a Robinson R44, was surveying the area for a natural gas line when it reportedly went nose down, then hit the corner of a house, including the roof and its foundation, in a neighborhood in Newton. Both crew members onboard were injured during the crash, one with critical injuries who was flown to a Charlotte hospital for treatment. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating 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.