Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Train Hits Bus, Dakota Access Pipeline, Bomb Threats

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Train Hits Bus, Dakota Access Pipeline, Bomb Threats

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for March 8, 2017: A CSX freight train collides with a full passenger bus in Mississippi, Jewish communities again targeted in a series of bomb threats, raging wildfires kill at least four and cause thousands to flee homes, Oklahoma declares a state of emergency for 22 counties after devastating wildfires, severe weather spawns a reported 29 tornadoes across the Midwest Monday night, a federal judge denies request to temporarily halt construction of Dakota Access Pipeline, a carjacking and kidnapping in Los Angeles ends in female stabbing and police-involved shooting, and a new study places three California counties most at-risk if an offshore fault line ruptures.

  1. On Tuesday afternoon, a CSX mixed freight train hit a charter bus in Biloxi, Mississippi, killing four and hospitalizing at least 35 other people.  The train, which had 3 locomotives and a total of 52 cars, was traveling east when it hit the passenger bus at the Main Street crossing and pushed it about 300 feet down the tracks. Authorities indicate that the train crossing is outfitted with flashing lights and crossing gates, and the accident occurred on a single track area of the CSX mainline as the train was en route from New Orleans to Mobile, Ala.
  2. On Monday and Tuesday, a new wave of bomb threats were made to Jewish schools and institutions, some of which involved the Anti-Defamation League offices located in New York and Washington. Facilities targeted by the threats on Tuesday included locations in Toronto, Canada, Washington, D.C., and at least eight states. The new threats came just as U.S. Senators penned a letter asking for swift action from top law enforcement officials in the Trump administration to address the troubling bomb threats.
  3. Wildfires raging across Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma have forced the evacuation of thousands from their homes and killed at least six people, with the largest fire raging in Lipscomb and Ochiltree counties in the Texas panhandle. The fires are believed to have been started by a combination of high winds, warm temperatures, and low humidity beginning overnight Sunday and Monday. Winds topping 50 mph on Tuesday continued to hamper fire fighters efforts to contain the wildfires that combined, have consumed hundreds of thousands of acres.
  4. Due to wildfires ravaging the state, Oklahoma declared a state of emergency on Tuesday. Gov. Mary Fallin made the declaration for 22 out of the state's 77 counties, including Beaver and Harper counties. More than 540 square miles in the two counties alone have been scorched in the fires, and contributed to the death of a women who suffered a heart attack while trying to protect her farm. Officials estimate from 200,000 to 300,000 acres have already burned, but caution that the area remains under a high fire danger for the next several days.
  5. In another wave of severe weather impacting the Midwest, a reported 29 tornadoes occurred late Monday and into Monday night, displacing hundreds of residents after homes were damaged. Illinois, Kansas, and Missouri were among the states affected, with locations in eastern Kansas and Missouri also reporting tennis ball sized hail. In Oak Grove, Missouri, at least 12 people were treated for injuries after an EF3 tornado touchdown, and at the Johnson County Executive Airport in Olathe, Kansas, planes and hangars were also damaged.
  6. A federal judge on Tuesday refused to temporarily halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, just a week after the final remaining protestors left the protest camps after being threatened with trespassing. The Standing Rock And Cheyenne River Sioux tribes have alleged that the pipeline threatens their water supply and cultural sites, but the new argument stated that the pipeline violates their right to practice religion, which requires clean water. The federal judge questioned the merit of the argument and also said it was not raised in a timely fashion.  
  7. A carjacking and kidnapping on Tuesday night in Los Angeles left a female kidnapping victim with multiple stab wounds. The carjacking was reported around 9:40 p.m., resulting in a police chase that ended in a officer-involved shooting of the suspect. Once police were able to stop the truck, officers shot the suspect after he began stabbing the female victim.  Both the victim and the suspect were treated by emergency responders at the scene before being transported to the hospital and both are expected to live.
  8. Some of the most densely populated regions in southern California are at risk of a 7.3 magnitude or higher earthquake if the New Inglewood and Rose Canyons faults rupture. New information from a recent study has re-characterized the two faults into one single fault line, and one that is never more than four miles offshore of San Diego, Orange, or Los Angeles counties. Scientists warn that any quake along this fault line could produce a devastating tsunami for these counties that are most at-risk in the southern part of the state.

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.