Saturday, October 22, 2016

BEST FRIENDS TILL DEATH AND BEYOND: A toddler who died in a house fire was found with his dog and teddy bear next to him IN sPOKANE, wa

Toddler dies in fire, his dog huddled at his side

This photo provided by the Spokane Fire Department shows the bed where a toddler and his dog died in a fire, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. (AP)

Updated 39 mins ago
SPOKANE, WA -- A toddler who died in a house fire was found with his dog and teddy bear next to him and authorities believe the dog tried to protect the boy, a spokesman for Spokane's fire department said Saturday.

The dog, a terrier mixed breed, also died in the fire that broke out at about 11:30 p.m. Friday, said the spokesman, Brian Schaeffer.

Three other children and two adults escaped from the blaze in Spokane's Hillyard neighborhood, he said.

The dog stayed behind in an attempt to protect the boy, firefighters believe, and the fire was so intense that it melted the metal on the frame of the boy's bed, Schaeffer said.

Jerry Atabelo, who lives across the street, told The Spokesman-Review he saw the flames and heard screaming as he was getting ready for bed. He yelled for his wife to call 911 and ran outside to hook up his 150 foot water hose.

As people screamed that a child was still in the house, neighbors dragged the hose across the street and sprayed water through a window to try to put out the fire, Atabelo said.

The battery in the house's smoke detector had been removed and it was not working, Schaeffer said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation and police are investigating the child's death.

M/V Gallia Graeca Ship’s Owner and Operator Ordered to Pay $1.3 Million Fine and $200,000 Community Service Payment for Violating Pollution Laws, Falsifying Records and Scheming to Defraud the U.S.

Friday, October 21, 2016
Ship’s Owner and Operator Ordered to Pay $1.3 Million Fine and $200,000 Community Service Payment for Violating Pollution Laws, Falsifying Records and Scheming to Defraud the U.S.

Ship Discharged Oily Waste on Voyage from China to Seattle; False Log Books given to Coast Guard Inspectors

The companies that own and operate a Greek shipping vessel were sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle, Washington, to a $1.3 million fine for the dumping of oily waste at sea, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes for the Western District of Washington. The ship operator, Angelakos (Hellas) S.A., and the ship owner, Gallia Graeca Shipping Ltd., were found guilty in June 2016 of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, Falsification of Records in a Federal Investigation and engaging in a Scheme to Defraud the United States. In imposing the monetary penalty, U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour for the Western District of Washington said he hoped the sanctions “would resonate and cause other companies to pause when they think about creating a corporate culture that encourages deception.”

“These companies promoted a culture of lies and lawlessness that left a trail of pollution in the Pacific Ocean,” said U.S. Attorney Hayes. “Knowing that the Coast Guard was going to do an inspection of their shipping vessel, corporate managers allowed the Chief Engineer to present falsified documents. The significant fines imposed in this case send a clear message that those who spoil our environment by putting their business interests ahead of our laws will be held responsible.”

According to records filed in the case and testimony at trial, a cargo ship named the M/V Gallia Graeca travelled from China to Seattle in October 2015. During the voyage, a pollution-control device known as an oil water separator was inoperable. On Oct. 16, 26 and 27, 2015, the defendants discharged overboard approximately 5,000 gallons of oily bilge water. The defendants concealed these incidents from the Coast Guard by making false statements to inspectors and making false statements and omissions in the ship’s oil record book. When Coast Guard inspectors asked the engineers to operate the oil water separator during the inspection, the engineers did so in such a way that the equipment appeared to be working properly even though it was not.

When Coast Guard inspectors examined the oil water separator they found its filters were clogged with oil and found oil residue in the overboard discharge piping. Records indicated the oil water separator had not been serviced for months prior to the voyage from China. The defendants presented the Coast Guard with an official oil record book stating that bilge water had not been discharged during the voyage to Seattle. However, the Coast Guard investigation discovered evidence that oily water had been discharged into the sea three times on its voyage from China.

Calling it “a voyage of deception and pollution,” prosecutors argued that the engineers tried to hide the pollution from the Coast Guard to avoid having the ship detained in Seattle. Keeping the ship on schedule was a benefit to the owners and operators who had a contract to move $25 million in goods out of Seattle. Shipping company executives had been in contact with the engineers about how they should present the log book for the Coast Guard inspection.

“Through strong partnerships with the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our Coast Guard Investigative Service, this case demonstrates our commitment to hold accountable shipping companies engaged in illegal activities,” said Captain Joe Raymond, Coast Guard Captain of the Port Puget Sound. “The Coast Guard will protect our marine environment through coordination with international, national, regional and local partners and will promote sustainable development of our nation’s ocean resources by enforcing pollution prevention laws and regulations and maintaining a robust vessel inspection program.”

The companies were placed on five years of probation and required to have environmental compliance plans in place which will ensure they are abiding by anti-pollution policies and regulations.

In addition to the $1.3 million fine, U.S. District Judge Coughenour ordered a $200,000 community service payment to be shared between the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the National Parks Foundation. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is a congressionally-chartered non-profit organization that works to “further the conservation and management of fish, wildlife, plants and other natural resources.” The payment will go to fund marine restoration and preservation projects in the Pacific Ocean, the site of defendants’ pollution. The National Parks Foundation does significant ocean beach clean-up – particularly on the ocean beaches of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.

The two engineers who operated the ship’s equipment and falsified the log books were sentenced to short prison terms before returning to Greece.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Seth Wilkinson and Matthew Diggs and by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Bor. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Bor is an attorney with the U.S. Coast Guard specially appointed to prosecute criminal cases in federal court.

The case is being investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division.

PREVENT GAS EXPLOSIONS: it's important to get your homes and appliances checked out, especially heating appliances when they've been sitting idle all summer long

After natural gas explosion, fire official recommends you check your home

By Deedee Sun |
Posted: Sat 12:44 AM, Oct 22, 2016 |
Updated: Sat 1:00 AM, Oct 22, 2016

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - More than two days after an explosion flattened a woman's home in Lincoln County on Wednesday, she remains in critical condition at a Wichita hospital. The Lincoln County Sheriff's office said Friday a natural gas leak caused the explosion, but fire marshals don't know where the leak came from.
That same Wednesday morning in Portland, OR, A natural gas leak caused a massive explosion that destroyed several businesses, and hurt seven people, including two firefighters.

Eyewitness News asked a local fire marshal how people can prevent natural gas leaks and explosions. The Andover Fire Marshall says there are some steps you can take to help keep your home safe and say you should get it checked by a professional on a regular basis.

"Seasonally, as we come into this cooler season, it's important to get your homes and appliances checked out, especially heating appliances when they've been sitting idle all summer long," said Mike Roosevelt, the Fire Marshall in Andover.

"If people have not been using their gas appliances, when you energize them that first time there's always that potential," he said.

He also says you should trust your senses, to detect a leak - natural gas has a chemical added to it, that gives it a rotten egg, sulfur smell.

"If you smell an abundant smell, evacuate," Roosevelt said. "If gas accumulates to a high level, an extensive explosion can occur."

Kansas Gas Service also has these tips:

- If you see a yellow flame instead of a blue one on your furnace, it's a warning sign your natural gas isn't burning properly.
- If you hear a hissing noise around your natural gas meter or appliances, you might have a leak.
- If you see unexplained dead vegetation or bubbling puddles of water around your yard or natural gas meter, you might have a leak.

On Saturday, American Family Insurance will build a fence around the remains of the home destroyed by the explosion, so they can investigate what caused the leak without disturbance. A 57 year old woman inside the home suffered severe burns and is still at a Wichita hospital.

Massive 3-alarm triple-decker fire in Worcester, Mass. leaves 11 people homeless

6 rescued from massive triple-decker fire in Worcester

Updated: Oct 22, 2016 - 9:18 AM 

WORCESTER, Mass. - Six people were rescued from a home in Worcester after it went up in flames early Saturday morning.

Fire officials told FOX25 four adults and two children were on the top floor of the triple-decker when the fire broke out.

Firefighters brought a ladder to the window and helped all six climb out and get to safety. All were taken to UMass Worcester Hospital to be checked out for smoke inhalation.

Three companies were sent to battle the blaze as the flames melted the siding on neighboring houses.

No firefighters were injured and the flames were under control Saturday morning. Fire officials are investigating the cause and origin of the blaze.


Six people were taken to a hospital after a 3-alarm fire broke out in Worcester, Massachusetts, early Saturday morning.

The fire took place at 2 Pelham St. Heavy flames consumed the second and third floors of the building.

According to the Worcester Fire Department, 11 people total are displaced as a result of the incident. Six people were trapped in the building and later hospitalized for non-life threatening injuries. Five others were displaced and remain unharmed.

The fire was knocked out an hour after it began and no firefighters were injured during the rescue.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Arson charges have been filed against a child in connection with the massive Beaver Creek fire near Walden in Colorado that destroyed 38,000 acres and several structures

By Jesse Paul | 

UPDATED: October 21, 2016 at 11:26 pm

Prosecutors announced on Friday that arson charges have been filed against a child in connection with the massive Beaver Creek fire near Walden in Colorado.

The Eighth Judicial District Attorney’s Office says the accusations were filed on Oct. 4. The child’s name, age and gender were not released and authorities declined to release further information in the case.

The fire, which was reportedly still smoldering earlier this week, burned more than 38,000 acres, destroying one home and 16 other structures. It spread into Wyoming and prompted hundreds of firefighters to be summoned to fight the burn.

The fire was ignited on June 19 and consumed land managed by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming State Forestry Division and Colorado.

“The investigating authorities are continuing to conduct follow-up interviews and finalize reports,” the district attorney’s office said in a news release. “… Due to the suspect’s age, the District Attorney’s Office will not be issuing any further information pertaining to this case.”

The Beaver Creek fire stood apart from other wildfires and was so difficult to harness because of its 38,000-plus acres of mostly beetle-kill timber, a volatile fuel that forces firefighters to rethink the way they can safely approach such large burns. The U.S. Forest Service hopes the fire provides a blueprint for how to fight blazes in the millions of acres of forest in Colorado and across the West that have been ravaged by insects.

Authorities had hinted that the fire was human caused, but until Friday had not announced any arrests or further details in the case.