Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Pawnee Fire Spreads Rapidly; Search Continues for Missing Thailand Boys

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Pawnee Fire Spreads Rapidly; Search Continues for Missing Thailand Boys

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By Kimberly Arsenault
Contributor, EDM Digest

Emergency and disaster management briefing for June 27, 2018: A California wildfire spurred evacuations and spread quickly amid unusually hot weather and drought-dry conditions; a firefighter is laid to rest after he was shot by a resident who allegedly started a fire in a senior retirement home in order to shoot firefighters; fire and hazmat crews were called to an e-cigarette manufacturing facility in Massachusetts after workers fell ill; search efforts continue in Thailand for a soccer coach and 12 boys who remain missing in a labyrinth of caves; increased lava activity at the Mount Cleveland volcano in Alaska prompts an aviation alert; three people were seriously injured and dozens more hurt in a train derailment outside Vienna, Austria; a tornado injured eight people and caused widespread damage in Eureka, Kansas Tuesday evening; and the officer involved in the shooting of Antwon Rose in East Pittsburgh has been charged with one count of criminal homicide.

1. A wildfire burning north of San Francisco, near Clear Lake, has consumed 13,000 acres and forced the evacuation of nearly 1,500 people. The blaze, named the Pawnee Fire, began Saturday. It has destroyed 12 homes and 10 buildings, threatens another 600 buildings, and is only 25 percent contained. The wildfire is being fueled by unusually hot weather, high winds, and extremely dry, drought-stricken vegetation. Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Lake County on Monday, freeing up additional money and resources to help fight the wildfire.

2. A man living in a Long Beach, California retirement high-rise set a fire to allegedly lure firefighters to his home in order to shoot them. Once the fire was out and firefighters were searching the building, shots rang out. Two firefighters were hit -- Fire Captain Dave Rosa, who later died at the hospital, and firefighter Ernesto Torres, along with an elderly resident who is in critical but stable condition. After a search, a revolver was found and the bomb squad was called in to address two suspicious devices. A suspect, Thomas Kim, was arrested on Monday.

3. Workers at a Massachusetts e-cigarette manufacturing facility fell ill on Sunday, sending fire and hazmat crews to the plant. More than 30 workers at the plant in Salem were suffering from breathing problems and nausea. At least 15 workers were transported to the hospital, while the other 15 found other forms of transport. An investigation is being launched into the incident that began just after a shift change. Around 450-500 staff were working in the facility.

4. Search efforts were resumed Tuesday by volunteer and military groups, including 45 Navy SEALs, for a group of 12 boys and their soccer coach believed to be trapped inside a labyrinth of caves in Thailand. Efforts to save the boys and their coach have been hampered by additional flooding. Requests for survivor detection equipment from the United States and specialized divers from Britain set to arrive Wednesday evening will help aid in the search. Searchers believe the boys should still be alive and remain hopeful, but divers may need to teach them basic scuba-diving skills to help them escape the caves.

5. Lava flowing into the crater of Mount Cleveland, in the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, has prompted an aviation alert code to be raised to a "watch" level. Experts fear the lava flowing over the mountain's active vent could result in a vent-clearing explosion, potentially launching an ash plume thousands of feet into the sky. The volcano, which is located about 940 miles southwest of Anchorage, typically produces smaller ash explosions. The most recent activity was May 4.

6. A passenger train derailed outside of Vienna, Austria, near St. Poelten, on Tuesday morning. Three people were seriously injured. Another 31 people sustained minor injuries when the front carriages of the train left the tracks and the rest of the train then ran into those carriages. The cause of the train derailment was due to excessive speed. However, authorities have not yet indicated if the excessive speed was human- or technology-related.

7. Residents in Eureka, Kansas, a small town about 60 miles east of Wichita, were slammed by a tornado that left eight people injured on Tuesday evening. The storm destroyed homes and downed power lines and trees. A severe thunderstorm spawned the tornado at around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, which then impacted nearly 2,400 people. The tornado caused significant damage across Greenwood County, prompting Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer to declare a state of emergency for the county. The local emergency management agency noted Wednesday that shelter was still available at the Methodist Church, but volunteers were not wanted because the area was deemed unsafe due to downed power lines.

8. The officer involved in the deadly shooting of Antwon Rose in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on June 19th, has been charged with one count of criminal homicide. The shooting occurred when police stopped a car matching the description of a vehicle allegedly involved in an earlier shooting. Officer Michael Rosfeld fired three shots at Rose when he exited the car and fled the scene. Authorities noted previously that two handguns were found in the stopped vehicle. An empty gun clip was allegedly found in Rose's pocket.


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.