Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Earthquakes, Airplane Fires, Georgia Wildfires

EDM Monday Briefing: Earthquakes, Airplane Fires, Georgia Wildfires


Emergency and disaster management briefing for October 31, 2016: A strong earthquake rocks Italy again, several smaller quakes shake Chile and Colombia, an American Airlines plane catches fire in Chicago, a FedEx airplane erupts in fire after landing in Florida, a police shootout in Oklahoma leaves one dead, a motorist strikes 22 pedestrians following a NASCAR race, and Atlanta battles wildfires amid drought conditions.

  1. A powerful earthquake rocked central and southern Italy Sunday morning, toppling buildings, destroying homes, and crumbling historic churches. The magnitude 6.6 quake as recorded by the U.S. Geological Service was centered near Norcia, in a mountainous area between Marche and Umbria. Strong aftershocks last Wednesday resulting from the deadly August 24 quake in the same region emptied the area of residents and likely contributed to helping save lives and minimize injuries. Italy's Civil Protection Agency reported 8,000 people in shelters by Sunday evening and expected to be assisting at least 3,000 more individuals overnight.
  2. The earthquake in Italy was just one of several earthquakes that occurred over the weekend. According to the U.S. Geological Service, a 5.4 magnitude earthquake struck southwest of Bogota, Colombia on Sunday, in a mountainous region. There have been no reports of injuries from the quake. To the south, beginning last Thursday, a series of smaller quakes have impacted regions along the coast of Chile, including a 5.9 magnitude quake on Thursday, a 5.1 quake on Saturday, a 5.2 earthquake on Sunday, and early Monday morning, another 5.1 quake. Majority of the earthquakes in Chile have been seated in areas near the cities of Valparaiso and Antofagasta. No injuries have been reported.
  3. In Chicago, IL on Saturday, just before take off, fire erupted from the right side of an American Airlines Boeing 767 airplane. Pilots aborted the take off and passengers were quickly evacuated from the aircraft using the emergency exits and slides. Smoke filled the cabin about thirty seconds after the fire erupted, and one flight attendant and approximately twenty passengers were taken to area hospitals after suffering minor injuries.
  4. In Florida on Saturday, a FedEx DC-10 aircraft also burst into flames when its left-side landing gear collapsed after touch down at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport. The plan skidded along the runway prior to catching fire, and after it stopped, an explosion blew off a portion of the left wing. Using a rope ladder, both pilots were able to evacuate safely out the right side cockpit escape window.
  5. Michael Vance -- the suspect who opened fire and shot and injured two police officers and killed two family members near Wellston, OK last Sunday -- was killed during a shoot-out with law enforcement on Sunday. Authorities had been hunting Vance since the shootings last week when the trail went cold--until a farmer reported seeing Vance on Highway 34 near the Washita River last night. The Dewey County Sheriff received bullet wounds in his shoulder and arm during a confrontation with the suspect about a half hour earlier and was being treated at a local hospital.
  6. After a NASCAR race at the Martinsville, Virginia, speedway, at least 22 people were injured when a motorist struck them while trying to pass another vehicle. Nine people were sent to two area hospitals and witnesses report that one person was completely run over. Virginia State Police do not believe alcohol was a factor in the incident, but witnesses indicate that the driver appeared confused and disoriented. The driver was taken into custody for further questioning.
  7. As record heat grips the Atlanta area, fire officials warn of a growing threat from fire citing the increasingly dry conditions from the statewide drought that Georgia is experiencing. On Sunday, fire crews worked to contain a fire in Cherokee County that consumed more than 10 acres. According to the Georgia Forestry Commission, since Friday morning, fire fighting crews have responded to 92 wildfires and 16 illegal burns. On Sunday, fire fighters were also fighting another fire in Whitfield County, on Rocky Face Mountain, that has been burning for five days and covers about 325 acres. The fire was threatening at least two homes in the area and unique terrain is creating challenges for fighting the fire.
  8. An American Airlines flight that departed from Los Angeles International Airport bound for Toronto, Canada Sunday morning had to divert mid-flight after smoke filled the cabin. The plane diverted to Denver International Airport and landed safely at around 11:40 a.m. local time. Fire fighters were called to the plane in order to ensure its safety, while maintenance crews investigated the cause of the smoke. Officials were unsure if anyone onboard needed treatment for smoke inhalation.
  9. The Washington, DC Metro announced its new budget proposal for FY2018. The new budget proposes to cut at least 1,000 jobs, increase fares, and up wait times, even during peak hours. The budget is being called a "reality check" by Metro after its aging infrastructure has resulted in numerous accidents, fires, emergency repairs, and delays that have plagued the crippled system in recent years. Fares would increase at least 10 cents on the rail service, with as much as a .25 cent increase on bus fares, a concern for many of the Metro's board members.
  10. A tank containing sulfuric acid near the airport in Memphis, Tennessee caught fire early Monday morning. HAZMAT crews are on the scene. No injuries have been reported and the building has been evacuated as fire fighters keep the area clear of people until further assessments are completed.

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.