Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: A Zinc Plant Fire In North Carolina Releases Toxic Chemicals into the Air
EDM Monday Briefing: A Zinc Plant Fire In North Carolina Releases Toxic Chemicals into the Air

EDM Monday Briefing: A Zinc Plant Fire In North Carolina Releases Toxic Chemicals into the Air


Emergency and disaster management briefing for April 29, 2019: A North Carolina zinc plant fire releases toxic chemicals and forces area evacuation; the CDC reports an additional 21 cases of E. coli amid the current outbreak; a gunman opened fire at a cookout in Baltimore and killed one person and wounded seven others; a suspect wanted in connection with the murders of seven people in Tennessee was shot and arrested Saturday; authorities believe that the gunman responsible for the San Diego synagogue shooting acted alone; 694,000 Rocking Sleepers have been recalled by Kids II following the deaths of five infants; taking lessons from Florida and other states, California releases evacuation guidelines for the first time; and more than 30 people are dead after heavy rainfall triggered landslides and flooding in Indonesia over the weekend.

1) A late Sunday night fire at a zinc plant in North Carolina forced the early morning evacuation of residents living within a half-mile of the plant, which is located in Mooresboro and close to the border of South Carolina. The plant, American Zinc Recycling Corp., released sulfuric acid into the air as it burned, and firefighters were also pulled from the scene after their gear tested positive for hazardous materials. According to reports, the evacuation remains in place due to air quality issues. The fire was still burning but was being doused by unmanned hoses due to concerns over hazardous materials in the air.

2) The number of individuals sickened by the ongoing E. coli outbreak linked to ground beef has now risen to 177 people across 10 states, with Kentucky having the highest number of cases at 65. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who reported the new numbers on Friday, the total number of those sickened rose by 21 people since April 23. Two companies have recalled a combined total of more than 165,000 pounds (82 tons) of ground beef amid the outbreak, and an investigation into the contamination continues.

3) One person died and seven others were injured when a gunman opened fire during a cookout in a West Baltimore neighborhood Sunday evening around 5:00 p.m. The gunman, who approached on foot to the scene, opened fire in a shooting that, according to police, appeared to be very targeted. Police noted that two cookouts were occurring on opposite sides of the street, and that shell casings in multiple locations may indicate there was a second gunman.

4) Authorities in Tennessee shot and arrested a suspect allegedly linked to at least seven murders at two separate homes that are about a mile away from where he was apprehended after an hours-long manhunt on Saturday. Police began hunting the murder suspect, Michael Cummins, 25, after responding to a 911 call Saturday at a home where they found four bodies and one injured person, who was taken to an area hospital with unspecified injuries. A total of seven bodies have been found at two homes near Westmoreland, which are currently being processed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). It is believed that many of the victims were close relatives of the suspect.

5) Police believe the 19-year-old gunman, who walked into a synagogue in San Diego on Saturday and opened fire, acted alone. Authorities say that John T. Earnest allegedly had an online manifesto that made claims he previously started a fire at a mosque and drew inspiration from the mosque shootings in New Zealand last month that killed 50 people. On Saturday, Earnest walked into the Chabad of Poway Synagogue and opened fire, killing one woman and wounding three others before fleeing the scene by car.

6) The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) posted a notice Friday of another recall for Rocking Sleepers that has been issued -- this time by the brand Kids II. The recall affects about 694,000 sleepers and was issued following the deaths of five infants -- similar to the Fisher-Price recall issued just weeks ago. A full list of the recalled sleepers can be found on the CPSC's website, and consumers are warned to stop using the product immediately and to contact the company for a full refund or voucher.

7) In California, evacuation warnings and orders have been the responsibility of locals for years, but in March, the state launched its first evacuation guidelines after taking lessons from Florida and other states with successful evacuation efforts. Officials noted that, while it is difficult to devise evacuation orders for wildfires due to their unpredictability, delaying a warning due to incomplete or imperfect information is no longer an option. Many residents in the town of Paradise, California, never received an evacuation warning about the swift-moving Camp Fire that destroyed the town and killed 85 people. A similar situation occurred during the wildfires in 2017 in California's Sonoma Valley wine country.

8) Heavy rainfall triggered landslides and flooding over the weekend in the province of Bengkuluthe, Indonesia, killing over 30 people and forcing thousands into emergency shelters amid fears of disease. The southwest side of Sumatra was hit hard by heavy rainfall Friday and Saturday, which triggered the flooding and landslides that damaged hundreds of buildings, along with roadways and bridges -- including a landslide that cut off two districts. Authorities have warned residents that a lack of clean water places them at higher risk for disease, which could spread quickly among the thousands that have evacuated to emergency shelters.


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.