Friday, March 17, 2017

OSHA Still Investigating Electrical Testing Solutions of Oshkosh, Wisconsin after Steven Nitz, an electrician, was injured Dec. 13 at the Sprint Communications building and later died

OSHA Still Investigating Employer of Electrician Who Died in Omaha

March 16, 2017

Steven Nitz, an electrician, was injured Dec. 13 at the Sprint Communications building.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the employer of an electrician who was injured in a fire in Nebraska in December. He later died at the hospital.

Steven Nitz, an electrician, was injured Dec. 13 at the Sprint Communications building. He was working as a contractor for Sprint when the incident occurred. His employer was Electrical Testing Solutions of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, according to a report from the Omaha World-Herald.

Nitz had been shocked and burned when authorities found him inside the building southeast of downtown.

The fire was a small one in the building’s main electrical breaker, authorities said. When firefighters arrived, they were told by workers that an injured man was downstairs in the electrical room. The fire caused an outage affecting landline and cellular phones in the Omaha area. Service was restored later that day, the Herald reported.

A spokesman for Nebraska Medicine confirmed Nitz's death this last week but wouldn’t provide additional information. OSHA always investigates the employer of the victim, and this investigation was opened two days after the fire.


OSHA looks at employer of electrician who died

By Janice Podsada / World-Herald staff writer
Feb 8, 2017
Federal regulators have until mid-May to complete an investigation into the employer of an electrician who was injured in a fire near downtown Omaha in December and then died.

Steven Nitz, an electrician, was injured Dec. 13 at the Sprint Communications building near Seventh and Leavenworth Streets.

This week, Taylor Wilson, a spokesman for Nebraska Medicine, confirmed his death, but wouldn’t provide additional information, citing privacy regulations. It’s unclear when Nitz died; Wilson said he couldn’t disclose that information.

Nitz had been hospitalized at the Nebraska Medical Center since being injured Dec. 13, Wilson said.

At the time of the fire, Nitz, 59, was working as a contractor for Sprint, the phone company has said.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration said they opened an investigation into Nitz’s employer, Electrical Testing Solutions of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on Dec. 15, two days after the blaze.

“OSHA always investigates the employer of the victim,” agency spokesman Scott Allen said. Sprint isn’t being investigated in connection with the incident, he said this week, because it had hired Electrical Testing as a contractor.

A man who identified himself on the telephone Tuesday as an executive with Electrical Testing Solutions said the company is not allowed to comment on the man’s death or the OSHA investigation. He wouldn’t give his name.

OSHA also wouldn’t comment further. The regulator doesn’t provide information on pending investigations. The agency has six months, in this case until about May 15, to complete its investigation, Allen said.

An Omaha Police Department report on the December incident says Nitz, of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, had been shocked and burned when authorities found him inside a Sprint building southeast of downtown.

The blaze was a small one in the building’s main electrical breaker, authorities said. When firefighters arrived, they were told by workers that an injured man was downstairs in the electrical room.

The fire caused an outage affecting landline and cellular phones in the Omaha area. Service was restored later that day.

Sprint expressed its condolences for Nitz’s death earlier this week.

Fire officials have listed the fire’s cause as accidental.


Man critically injured in fire in Sprint building Tuesday; voice, data service disrupted

By Andrew J. Nelson and Jay Withrow / World-Herald staff writers
Dec 14, 2016

A man was critically injured and people across the Omaha metro area were left without phone service after a fire Tuesday morning at a Sprint Communications building southeast of downtown.

A Police Department report says Steven Nitz, 59, of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, an electrician, was shocked and burned. The blaze was reported about 4:45 a.m. in a building at Seventh and Leavenworth Streets. The report says Nitz was inside when he was injured. He was in critical condition Tuesday night at the Nebraska Medical Center.

The Sprint store at 72nd and Dodge Streets posted a sign on its door advising customers that the fire affected 236 towers in Omaha.

Customers in Omaha and surrounding areas experienced voice and data issues because of the fire, said John Votava, a Sprint spokesman. Customers as far away as Minneapolis, Minnesota, were unable to call 911 Tuesday because of the fire, news outlets in the Twin Cities reported.

The outage affected landline and cellular phones. The company apologized to its customers. Service was restored by late Tuesday.

“It was something that did, unfortunately, take quite an extensive bit of repair,” Votava said.

Some cellphone users reported losing all forms of communication: Internet, email, text and phone service, including, possibly, 911 service.

Stephanie Sousa, 27, said her 4-year-old son, Amari, who is a severe asthmatic, had an extreme coughing spell Tuesday morning and had to be taken to the emergency room.

“This whole Sprint thing is very, very, very upsetting as now his doctor cannot contact me, nor I her, to schedule a follow-up appointment or to speak with her about our ER visit this morning,” Sousa, of Omaha, wrote in an email Tuesday evening. “This outage also means I am without phone service to call anyone should the unthinkable happen again.”

The fire was a small one in the main electrical breaker for the building, officials said. It was quickly extinguished by the Fire Department.

However, when fire crews arrived at the building, they were met by workers who said that a man was injured and that he was downstairs in the electrical room.

“We are saddened that a contractor on site was injured in the fire,” Votava wrote in an email.

Fire officials have listed the fire’s cause as accidental.

The outage created a variety of problems for metro-area residents and businesses.

Amanda Collier of Omaha said she is unemployed and was unable to call about jobs she had applied for, nor was she able to check her voicemail to see whether potential employers had called her.

“My son is sick and I am unable to call our doctor to get him meds, and I am unable to make calls today to find assistance to help pay my shut off for OPPD. I have interviews lined up (Wednesday) and Thursday and I hope I have service by then, as I need to use my GPS to find the places,” Collier, 35, wrote in an email.

Mike Kennedy of Omaha is an attorney and president of the Millard school board. His law practice is centered on child custody and divorce, so this is a busy season.

“I couldn’t get ahold of clients. I couldn’t get ahold of the school district on an important matter. It’s been a trying day. And the most important person, my wife, couldn’t get ahold of me,” he said in an interview.

Kennedy, 46, said it would take about 30 seconds for a call to connect on his cellphone, or it would drop without connecting. He also had delays sending texts.

“An attorney 25 years ago would have said, ‘I’ll return your call the next day,’ ” he said. “People today, they want an answer ... they want a quick answer. And in many businesses just like mine, it’s time-sensitive. ... You don’t understand how much people use those phones until you don’t have it.”



Steven Nitz
1957 - 2017 Obituary

Steven J. Nitz, 59, Oshkosh, passed away at Nebraska Medical Center as a result of a work injury sustained in Omaha. Steve has been in the hospital since December 13, 2016 with his wife Mary by his side, and passed away on Saturday, February 4, 2017, just ten days before his 60th birthday. Steve was the second child born to John and Germaine (Reichenberger) Nitz and was a lifelong resident of Oshkosh. He was employed by several local businesses throughout his career including Multi-Conveyer, Shallbetter, and most recently, Electrical Testing Solutions. Steve was a family man that worked harder than any other man we know and could fix whatever was put in front of him. His skills and knowledge were endless. Steve was a dedicated hobbyist who enjoyed hunting, planting trees, gardening and taking on new adventures like making maple syrup and raising turkeys and bees. He loved to share those adventures with anyone who would listen.

Steve loved his family immensely. He has a beautiful supportive wife Mary and five children that don't know where they will be without his love, support and ability to fix anything. In addition to his loving children, he has six grandchildren who would say no one else could make a turkey call or gobble quite like their Grandpa. He had a vivid imagination and entertained his grandchildren with tall tales. We love this man more than paragraphs can ever explain.

Steve leaves behind his wife, Mary; his children: Nicholas Nitz, Amy (Chris) Jackson, Wendy (Troy) Nitz-Schneider, Meghan Mielke and Marissa Mielke; his grandchildren: Jasmine, Kaia, Bohdan, Keyanna, Kaeliah and Finley. He is further survived by his brothers: Mike and Tom; sisters: Cindy, Donna and Annmarie; many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, infant sister, Amy and nephews: Jeremy, Aaron and Mario.

We would like to thank the Omaha Fire Department for their quick response and the staff of the Nebraska Medical Burn ICU for the expert and loving care provided to Steve. You supported and nurtured our entire family. We are forever grateful and you will always be a part of our family.

Konrad-Behlman Funeral Home (100 Lake Pointe Drive, Oshkosh) is handling arrangements. Visitation will be held on Friday, February 10, 2017 from 4:00-7:00PM at the funeral home. A prayer service will be held at 7:00PM. Visitation on Saturday, February 11, 2017 will be held at St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church (830 Westhaven Drive, Oshkosh) from 9:30-11:00AM and will be followed by a Mass of Christian burial.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the family for planting of trees in memory of Steve on his family farm land.

Death of the bulldozer operator, Robert Reagan: Ian Czirban Concrete Construction violated three state regulations in connection with its work on the Soberanes Fire in Monterey County.

State regulators are moving to bar from working in California the private contractor that employed a bulldozer operator killed in the costliest wildfire in U.S. history.

The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) announced Wednesday that Czirban Concrete Construction violated three state regulations in connection with its work on the Soberanes Fire in Monterey County.

Czirban lied about whether it had employees, the board alleges, getting around a requirement that it offer workers’ compensation insurance. The company was not permitted to be involved in firefighting, according to CSLB. Its license was solely for concrete work, not bulldozing fire lines, the agency said. And the death of the bulldozer operator, Robert Reagan, constitutes a cause for disciplinary action, CSLB spokesman Rick Lopes said.

“This is the first step toward revoking the company’s license,” Lopes said in an interview.

The board’s announcement came a day after KQED reported that California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) handed down five citations to the Madera County firm that employed Reagan, who was killed on July 26, 2016, after the bulldozer he was driving near Big Sur tipped over and pinned him to the ground.

Cal/OSHA’s investigation laid blame on Czirban for not ensuring that Reagan wear a seat belt.

The Monterey County District Attorney’s Office is investigating Czirban as well.

“We’re investigating a possible workers’ comp insurance violation against Czirban,” said Berkley Brannon, the office’s chief assistant district attorney, in an interview Thursday.

Czirban could face criminal charges, Brannon said.

Reagan left behind a wife and two young children who could be hurt by the lack of workers’ compensation.

“The fact that there’s a potential that the family wouldn’t have remedy, that’s a very serious concern to us,” Brannon said.

In its defense the company is arguing that Reagan was an employee of Cal Fire, according to Brannon.

Czirban had its license suspended eight times by the CSLB in four years for a set of violations, many of them tied to workers’ comp problems.

“It’s particularly troubling that these people had been warned and actually been caught,” Lopes said. “That’s particularly disturbing.”

Czirban Concrete Construction has not responded to several requests for comment.

The Soberanes Fire burned more than 132,000 acres last summer and fall. Investigators say it was caused by an illegal campfire. 


Employer of Worker Killed in Soberanes Fire Under Scrutiny

The Soberanes Fire burns near Big Sur on the night of July 23, 2016. (Cal Fire via Twitter)
By Ted Goldberg August 2, 2016
The construction company that employed a bulldozer operator killed last week in the massive Soberanes wildfire in Monterey County has had its license suspended eight times by state regulators in the last four years.

Robert Reagan, the 35-year-old Friant man who was working the fire when the bulldozer he was operating rolled over, was employed by Czirban Concrete Construction, said Julia Bernstein, a spokeswoman for California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA,) which is investigating his death.

The construction company, which is based in Coarsegold (Madera County), recently told the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) it had no employees and therefore did not need to provide worker’s compensation, board spokesman Rick Lopes said. ‘They’ve been going without a workers’ comp policy, telling us they’ve got no employees.’Rick Lopes, Contractors State License Board spokesman

Multiple calls for comment to Ian Czirban, the company’s owner, have yet to be returned.

Word of Reagan’s death and employment has prompted the license board to open a new investigation into the firm.

“They are on our radar now,” Lopes said in an interview. “They’ve been going without a workers’ comp policy, telling us they’ve got no employees.”

The license board learned about Reagan’s employment at Czirban from KQED, which asked questions about the company’s history after learning Cal/OSHA had launched its probe.

It’s Cal/OSHA’s first investigation into an incident related to Czirban, but not the license board’s first probe. The company has gotten into trouble repeatedly over how much workers’ comp it offers its workers and its payments to its employees and suppliers.

In July 2012, CSLB investigators found that a crew employed by the company was not covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Czirban was then cited and fined $3,500.

The company did not pay that fine right away, so its contractors license was suspended. The firm agreed to a payment plan with the agency to pay the fine — but it failed to make a payment and its license was suspended again.

The company’s license was then suspended several other times because its subcontractors and material suppliers were not paid, Lopes said.

“The fact is whenever they’ve gotten into a situation where they’ve had to pay some sort of fines or pay back a bond, they’ve really dragged their feet and it’s forced the contractors board to suspend their license and turn up the heat on them.”

The current investigation could lead the agency to pull Czirban’s license again.

If the company had no workers’ compensation insurance, it could be harder for Reagan’s relatives to collect money because of his death.

Czirban Concrete is one of a number of companies Cal Fire has contracted with on the Soberanes Fire — a practice the agency employs on large fires.

“We have many companies that we contract with throughout the state and they can be utilized in any area,” Cal Fire spokeswoman Lynne Tolmachoff said. “The only time they are hired is for emergency incidents. We do not use these contracts for day-to-day projects.”

In an email, Cal Fire confirmed its Madera-Mariposa-Merced unit has a “call when needed” vendor contract with Czirban, and that the vendor has responded to 10 fires in the last 10 years, nine of those times with a bulldozer.

Cal Fire also emphasized that it requires vendors to have workers’ compensation insurance, and that vendors must sign an agreement to that effect under penalty of perjury.

Cal Fire’s Serious Accident Investigation Team is looking into the circumstances surrounding Reagan’s death, but few details have been released about it.

Cal Fire says he died sometime between last Tuesday night and the following Wednesday morning.

Reagan was not in the middle of a firefight at the time, according to U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Paula Martinez.

“He was just coming on shift so it wasn’t like he was actively engaged in fire suppression at the time of the accident,” Martinez said, adding that the incident took place in the Palo Colorado Canyon area.

OSHA investigating Omaha 8-foot deep trench collapse that trapped worker with Utility Trenching

OSHA investigating Omaha trench collapse that trapped worker

March 15, 2017 By Karla James

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an investigation into a 8 foot deep trench collapse that trapped a worker in Omaha, NE Tuesday morning. The ordeal started at 9:45 a.m. at 130th and Hawthorne Court and it took more than six hours to free Drew Johnson who was working on a sewer main project. He was rushed to a hospital and continues to recover.

OSHA Public Affairs spokesperson Scott Allen says they are just starting their investigation and had compliance officers at the scene on Tuesday and they will likely return today. They will be interviewing witnesses and talk with officials at Utility Trenching to see if all standards and regulations were followed.

There have been several OSHA investigations involving Utility Trenching. Allen says, “They received three violations in 2008 for excavation standards that were not being followed. They received a repeat violation in 2012 for the same thing. We are concerned that any company working in trenching, they must follow the OSHA standards and regulations to prevent this type of incident.” He says any time a company has a worker in a trench that is five feet deep has to have proper shoring materials or a trenching box to prevent it from collapsing in on the workers.

Allen says OSHA has six months to complete their investigation. We reached out to Utility Trenching who had no comment.


U.S. Labor Department officials have opened an investigation into the trenching company that was involved in Tuesday’s trench collapse that trapped a worker for about 6½ hours.

Utility Trenching, which has operated in Omaha for 15 years and has four previous OSHA violations, will be investigated by officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Violations can result in fines up to $160,000 a piece, though actual fines tend to be substantially lower.

An employee of Utility Trenching declined to comment Wednesday.

Drew Johnson, 23, became stuck knee-deep in soil in a roughly 12-foot-deep trench about 9:45 a.m. Tuesday outside a home at 13019 Hawthorne Court. One side of the trench had collapsed on his legs.

About 30 Omaha firefighters responded and used equipment from Metropolitan Utilities District to loosen the soil and free Johnson. He was taken to Nebraska Medical Center with foot pain and was listed in fair condition Wednesday.

His mother, Joan Johnson, asked an acquaintance, Wendy Keeler, to release a statement Wednesday.

“Andrew is resting in ICU,” the statement said, adding: “The family appreciates your respect for their privacy at this time.”

Joan Johnson also thanked workers for the lengthy effort to rescue her son.

“Joan wants to thank all the fire and rescue personnel who stepped up to save her son and she understands the time involved in his rescue was due to the danger of compartment syndrome (damaging pressure on tissue) and further trench collapse,” the statement said. “The time involved in his rescue was very reasonable. Rescue staff was only concerned with Drew’s health and welfare, along with their own safety.”

Scott Allen, an OSHA spokesman, said the department will work quickly to investigate the incident. He said it must be finished in six months.

“These types of incidents are completely preventable,” Allen said. “It’s the responsibility of the company doing the work to ensure that they have the proper shoring or trench boxes to protect the worker from cave-ins.”

The company’s previous four violations have occurred over the past nine years, adding up to $7,850 in fines.

OSHA found three “serious” violations in 2008 — two citing excavation violations and a third citing general protective systems. OSHA fined the company $750 for each of the three violations.

The two trenching protocols that were violated involved having a safe exit in excavations that are more than 4 feet deep and having daily inspections to look for conditions that could lead to cave-ins.

The company then had one “repeat” violation in 2012 that had to do with the regulation requiring a safe exit from the trench — a stairway, ladder, ramp or other means.

Trenching work is considered a hazardous operation because cave-ins can be fatal. Two methods — sloping soil on each side or putting a protective box or shield to protect an employee — are the most common ways to prevent cave-ins, according to an OSHA safety publication.

EMT WORKERS ARE ALWAYS AT HIGH RISK OF INJURY OR DEATH: A New York EMT killed after being run over by her own ambulance which was stolen by a man police believe was on drugs.

Man accused of running over New York EMT with stolen ambulance faces murder charges

By Ben Guarino and Kristine Phillips March 17 at 12:56 PM

New York EMT run over by stolen ambulance Embed Share

A New York EMT died March 16 after being run over by her own ambulance which was stolen by a man police believe was on drugs. (Reuters)

The man who, authorities say, hijacked an ambulance and ran over and killed an emergency medical technician in New York has been charged with murder, officials announced Friday.

Jose Gonzalez, 25, proclaimed his innocence as officers led him out of the New York Police Department’s Bronx precinct Friday morning. Angry EMTs in uniform shouted insults at him, the Associated Press reported.

“I’m innocent,” he told reporters. “I didn’t do nothing.”

Gonzalez was charged with three counts of murder, grand larceny and operating a motor vehicle while impaired. His arraignment is scheduled for Friday, according to the AP.

Yadira Arroyo, a 14-year veteran of the New York Fire Department, was killed Thursday night after Gonzalez seized the ambulance she was driving and then struck her with the vehicle, authorities said. Arroyo’s partner was injured but is in stable condition.

“An EMT was lost in the line of duty, bravely doing her job and encountering the kind of danger that our EMTs should not have to confront,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday night at the Jacobi Medical Center, where Arroyo was pronounced dead. “They should not ever have to be subjected to violence, and yet that danger always exists for them.”

The 44-year-old paramedic was a mother of five, de Blasio said. Although the mayor did not name the EMT, the fire department later confirmed Arroyo’s identity.

Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said she was the eighth member of the New York emergency medical services and only the third female employee to be killed in the line of duty.

#FDNY members are marching with heavy hearts today in honor of EMT Yadira Arroyo

— FDNY (@FDNY) March 17, 2017

Arroyo had been driving the ambulance through the Bronx, with another female EMT in the passenger seat, when a passerby flagged down the ambulance at about 7 p.m. and told them a man was riding on the rear bumper, police said.

Both Arroyo and the other EMT exited the ambulance, Nigro said. Arroyo, who left the ambulance door open, was approaching the man, later identified as Gonzalez, who then moved around her and went inside the ambulance. Gonzalez threw the ambulance into reverse, knocking Arroyo to the ground, according to police. That’s when he ran over Arroyo and dragged her as he drove over a sidewalk and to an intersection, striking several parked cars along the way, authorities said.

He then stopped the ambulance and ran away, police said. Gonzalez was later caught by an Metropolitan Transportation Authority officer, according to police.

Officers found Arroyo on the roadway with “trauma about her body,” a police news release states. Her partner, a 30-year-old EMT who has not been publicly identified, suffered injuries to her neck and shoulder.

A witness, Justin Lopez, 20, shot a video of the incident.

“I was coming from the street, up to the red light and I just saw the ambulance, the sirens and lights, and I told my brother, ‘Look something’s happening,’ and then somebody just hopped in, and then he hit two cars and ran over the person,” Lopez told the New York Daily News. “I realized he was hijacking the car.”

Nancy Montavo, who was nearby, told the Daily News that the second paramedic was devastated. “She was screaming ‘my partner, my partner.’ She was screaming hysterically. I can’t forget her screaming,” Montavo said. “All the police came running and they put her in an ambulance.”

“We lost a good woman,” de Blasio said. “She started her shift today like every other day, and then a senseless act of violence takes her life.”

A construction worker was killed in Autauga County, AL when speeding and drugged female driver, Kelly Nicole Dingler, 35, of Deatsville, AL careened through a barricade at a bridge replacement site.

STONEY POINT, ALABAMA — A construction worker was killed in Autauga County on Thursday when an SUV careened through a barricade at a bridge replacement site.

The driver, identified by Cpl. Jess Thornton of Alabama Law Enforcement Agency as Kelly Nicole Dingler, 35, of Deatsville, drove through the barricade in a 2003 Ford Explorer that became airborne after striking the bridge abutment. The vehicle then went airborne and a construction worker identified as Larue Bandy, 55, of Haynesville, was struck by the vehicle. Bandy was pronounced dead at the scene, said deputy coroner Whit Moncrief. The car traveled through the air for about 20 yards before it landed atop Bandy, who was working on the bridge's pilings.

Criminal charges against Dingler are "likely," said District Attorney Randall Houston. The charges could range from manslaughter to murder, he said.

"We are going to go where the evidence takes us," he said. "But I fully anticipate some type of charges being filed. We have a fatality. A man went to work Thursday morning, trying to provide for himself and his family, and he didn't come home. My office will wait and see what the Trooper investigation finds."

The key will be results of tests to determine if Dingler was impaired or under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the wreck, he said.

"It may very well be that we file charges in the coming days, and then those charges could very well be upgraded once the tox screen comes back and we present this case to a future session of the grand jury," Houston said.

There was no marks at the scene that showed the driver attempted to apply her brakes. Dingler was transported to a local hospital. The extent of her injuries were unknown Thursday evening.

The scene is at the intersection of Autauga County roads 85 and 104. The bridge work has been going on for several weeks. The wreck scene is about 10 miles north of Prattville. There are several construction zones signs on County Road 85 approaching the bridge site. There are two wooden barricades on U.S. Highway 31 and County Road 85 with signs stating that the road is closed and open to local traffic only. The bridge site is about three miles from the Highway 31 and County Road 85 intersection.

1 KILLED, SEVERAL INJURED AFTER A multi-vehicle collision led to a chemical spill and closed Highway 401 for more than 24 hours east of Brockville, Canada

LANSDOWNE — A 45-year-old Hamilton man has been identified as the victim of a multi-vehicle collision that led to a chemical spill on Tuesday and closed Highway 401 for more than 24 hours east of Brockville.

Police identified the victim as Ian Meville, a transport-truck driver. Police did not identify the cause of death.

Police confirmed a “serious collision involving transports” along Highway 401 westbound lanes near kilometre marker 675 early Tuesday afternoon in which a corrosive material spilled onto the road and some vehicles were reportedly trapped underneath transport trucks.

Provincial police advised Wednesday night that all lanes were re-opened.

Meaghan Quinn, spokeswoman for Kingston General Hospital, confirmed late Tuesday that said a decontamination bay was opened at the hospital for all those who were exposed to the chemical, noting that the substance had been confirmed as fluorosilicic acid.

The official Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) covering industrial use of this acid says it is irritating to the airways, and can cause skin irritation, redness or swelling. Extended breathing of fumes can cause “burning sensation, coughing, wheezing, laryngitis, shortness of breath, headache, nausea and vomiting.”

It recommends people exposed to it should be taken into the fresh air, and skin should be washed thoroughly with soap and water. If necessary flush the eyes with water for 20 minutes. The MSDS instructions say people may wish to see a doctor if symptoms are severe.

The acid is used in fluoridating water, and in aluminum production.

Twenty-nine patients were brought to the hospital, which declared a “code orange,” meaning non-critical emergency admissions were routed to nearby Hôtel Dieu Hospital to make way for crash casualties.

Thirteen of the injured were first responders, Quinn said.

By 9 p.m., a number of patients had been discharged and others were being held for observation before it was decided whether they would be released or admitted.

Earlier, the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands said in a Facebook post that “all persons with potential chemical exposure (have) been transported for medical attention. No residential properties were affected and there is no risk to the general public.”

According to witnesses’ postings on social media accounts, emergency vehicles and fire rescue trucks were being used to take victims who had been exposed to the hazardous substance to an impromptu decontamination centre established at the township fire station in Lansdowne.

Township Mayor Joe Baptista said at the scene “at least 20” people were sent to hospitals from the Lansdowne control centre.

“There was at least one individual in critical condition, and a second individual in serious condition,” Baptista said.

Patients were brought to a control centre at the fire station where they went through a decontamination process.

“(They had) to be completely hosed down. Your clothing and everything is taken. Anything on your person has to be removed,” he said.

Brockville General Hospital spokesperson Abby McIntyre confirmed BGH admitted one person involved in the crash with minor injuries, with the rest of the victims sent to Kingston.

An emergency response in TLTI, led by the township’s ‘community control group,” was initiated around 3 p.m. as first responders were on site and co-ordinating a medical response.

Ottawa Fire Services Hazmat unit — one three designated agencies for hazardous materials incidents for the whole province — was contacted by the Office of the Fire Marshal to assist responders.

At 5:15 p.m., response crews reported the chemical spill had been contained.

“All vehicles have been rerouted and all persons with potential chemical exposure having been transported for medical attention,” said Elaine Mallory, the township’s director of planning.

Cleanup crews had arrived on site by late afternoon to remediate the area of the chemical spill. The Ministry of the Environment was among those on site of the spill.

First responders termed the highway pileup as a “mass casualty” event due to the number of people exposed to the hazardous chemicals carried by the leaking tanker truck.

Anybody who endured even minor inhalation exposure to the substance was being taken to hospital, according to responders.

The chain-reaction collision reportedly involved a dozen or more tractor trailers in the wind-driven blizzard conditions along the Hwy. 401 corridor, along with many passenger vehicle collisions.

Images and social media users’ videos as well as eyewitness reports portrayed several jackknifed tractors across the road or tipped into the median of the highway.

4,800 gallons of oil spilled from a broken Chevron Corporation pipeline and flowed into an intermittent stream on public land in northwestern Colorado

RANGELY, COLORADO — About 4,800 gallons of oil spilled from a broken Chevron Corporation pipeline and flowed into an intermittent stream on public land in northwestern Colorado, company representatives and industry regulators said Tuesday.

Disclosure of the accident earlier this month in Rio Blanco County came as a conservation group reported spills from oil and gas development fell for the second straight year in 2016 amid a slowdown in drilling.

In the Chevron breach, crude from a failed 6-inch pipeline travelled about 2 miles downstream along an unnamed tributary of Stinking Water Creek near the town of Rangely, state and federal officials said.

The oil was stopped by a small dam that had been installed downstream of the pipeline as a preventive measure to contain spills.

The pipeline break was found March 5 by a company consultant, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The cause of the failure is under investigation and cleanup work is continuing, Chevron spokeswoman Erika Conner said.

The spill was earlier reported by federal officials to involve more than 50,000 gallons of oil. But Conner said that figure was erroneous and included a mix of oil and water recovered by cleanup crews in the area around the pipeline.

Federal officials were reviewing data from the cleanup and could not yet confirm the amount spilled, EPA spokeswoman Lisa McClain-Vanderpool said.

Two ducks covered in oil died after being found at the spill site in the days after the break was discovered. Two small birds and several mice were later found dead by cleanup crews, according to Conner.

Colorado Department of Natural Resources spokesman Todd Hartman says the failed section of pipeline is being analyzed to determine a cause.

An examination of industry accident data by the conservation group Center for Western Priorities found 509 spills reported to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission last year, down from 615 the year before, the Daily Sentinel reported on Tuesday. There were 712 spills reported in 2014.

Weld County had the most spills reported last year with 246, followed by Las Animas County with 51 and Garfield County with 46.

The state lowered the threshold for reporting spills in 2013. Starting in 2014, it required all spills of more than a barrel outside a secondary containment area to be reported within 24 hours.



A house in a Maryland suburb of the nation's capital was leveled early Friday by a thunderous explosion heard for miles around, a blast so powerful it shattered windows and caused other damage to several neighboring homes, authorities said.

The explosion rocked the sleepy Washington, D.C., bedroom community of Rockville at around 1 a.m. and scattered debris widely, a fire official said, adding the cause wasn't immediately known.

Authorities said they had no reports of any injuries but neighbors said a man lived in the home and investigators didn't know his immediate status or if the house was occupied at the time. Investigators and search and rescue dogs were on the scene at daybreak.

"It's just a pile of debris; it's just a pile of bricks. There's not anything left of the house," said Pete Piringer, chief spokesman for Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service. "I've heard there were calls from miles away, people calling."

The powerful jolt shook neighbors from their sleep, including Luzia Ricci.

"I could feel it underground," she said of the explosion in the neighborhood of modest, mostly one-story single family homes. "I was wondering, 'Are we having an earthquake?' But it was so short."

She went outside to see what was going on and could see the flames from her backyard. She started to go closer with her daughter, but then she heard another pop and backed away.

"My husband is crazy enough to go all the way," she said, adding he captured video of the fire.

From the scene, Piringer described the home damage as "catastrophic" and added that about a dozen other houses, mostly built of brick, were damaged by a "large debris field" kicked up by the blast.

"There is collateral damage to several nearby homes," he said.

About 75 firefighters needed only about 20 minutes to put out a fire in the rubble. They were summoned by several frantic 911 calls, according to Piringer.

"The status of the occupant is unknown," he said, adding authorities had no further information. But he said investigators would be exhaustively checking the rubble during the day as they try to pinpoint what had happened.

Piringer said there were no reports of any gas leaks before the blast but he said a gas explosion was one possibility that hadn't been ruled out initially. He said authorities had no additional information so early into the investigation.

As a precaution, utility workers turned off gas and power at the home and others nearby. Fire and utility officials also went door to door asking neighbors to leave for their safety, displacing a number of area residents. Yellow police tape cordoned off the site.

The neighborhood has seen a house leveled by an explosion in recent memory. In May 2011 an explosion destroyed a home on the same street, killing two people, after a resident disconnected a clothes drier's gas service without capping the line, Piringer said.



Massive 3-alarm fire destroys two multi-million-dollar bayfront homes in Avalon, New Jersey

AVALON, N.J. (WPVI) -- Firefighters battled a blaze involving two houses at the Jersey Shore.

The fire started around 7:45 a.m. Friday along Sea Gull Drive near Flamingo Drive in Avalon.

Fire officials say flames erupted in an unoccupied property and then spread to the next door house.

They say there was a family inside that house, but they managed to escape with no injuries.

The homes are part of a multi-million dollar community in the resort's back bays.

There is no immediate word on what caused the blaze.


AVALON, NJ — A fire destroyed two multi-million-dollar bayfront homes Friday morning near the intersection of Pelican and Seagull drives.

One of the homes was occupied, and three adults and one child were able to escape safely, according to Avalon Fire Chief Ed Dean. They reported the blaze and crews arrived on the scene around 7:45 a.m., Dean said.

The two homes, assessed at just under $3 million each according to tax records, were both on fire when crews arrived, Dean said.

“It appeared that the fire started between the two buildings,” he added.

By 10:30 a.m., Dean said the fire was just about out and his department was getting ready to hand the incident over to investigators.

The neighboring homes, located at 6 Seagull Drive and 47 Pelican Drive, were “basically destroyed,” according to Dean. Firefighters sprayed the buildings with multiple powerful hoses to quell the blaze.

“The wind really wasn’t a factor this morning,” Dean said. “The biggest factor is this area’s lack of water supply.”

A hose was set up to pump water from Ocean Drive, nearly a mile away from the scene of the fire.

Departments from around Cape May County responded to the fire, including crews from Avalon, Stone Harbor, Green Creek, Wildwood, Rio Grande and Cape May Court House.

Massive 5-alarm fire destroys the wood-framed Metropolitan apartment complex under construction in downtown Raleigh, NC

 The Metropolitan apartment complex prior to the fire 

Massive fire on W. North St. in downtown Raleigh overnight (WTVD)

Updated 14 mins ago
RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD)
"Avoid downtown," is what Raleigh officials are telling people Friday morning after a huge five-alarm fire ignited overnight at an at least six-story apartment building under construction.

Raleigh Fire Department Division Chief John Fanning said that glass is everywhere and glass is still falling due to the aftermath from the fire. It ignited shortly before 10 p.m. Thursday at 400 W. North St., where the Metropolitan apartment complex was still being built.

"This is the biggest fire that I have ever seen in such a condensed area," Fanning said in his 24 years of experience.

Stunned Raleigh residents and visitors poured out onto sidewalks and streets as the massive blaze filled the area with heavy smoke.

"It was massive. It looked like the entire block was one fire," a downtown business owner and resident named Patrick told ABC11's Angelica Alvarez Thursday night.

The blaze forced the evacuation of nearby businesses and residential buildings, as well as road closures.

Eyewitnesses said it appeared the fire ignited on the second floor, though police and fire officials have not yet made such a determination.

No one lives in the building, but there are numerous buildings nearby, including other residential apartment units.

Only one injury was reported due to falling glass. It was non-life threatening.

Fanning said Friday morning that there was damage to five neighboring buildings and around 10 surrounding buildings had suffered fire exposure from the massive blaze.

A crane used at the construction site collapsed minutes after firefighters arrived.

Fanning added that up to 130 firefighters responded to the growing blaze.

By 1 a.m., the fire appeared to be under control. Crews are still spraying the burnt structure with water to extinguish any hot spots.

"Continue to wet it so that we don't have anything rekindle," Fanning said. "Usually a rekindle is worse than the original start."

Friday morning, Duke Energy's outage map showed around 250 customers were without power after the fire damaged some equipment. Duke Energy said repairs are expected to be complete by 8 a.m.

A building under construction became engulfed in flames in downtown Raleigh. (Lori Denberg)

Hillsborough Street is currently closed in both directions at W Morgan and N Dawson streets as crews continue to monitor the structure.

Glenwood Avenue is also closed in both directions between Wade Avenue and W Morgan Street, as well as, southbound Capital Blvd. between Wade Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.

Several other side streets are also blocked - like Jones, West, and Harrington streets - forcing detours in those areas.

The wood construction of the Metropolitan apartment complex made fighting the blaze challenging.

"They immediately tried to put water on it but as they approached they noticed it was a lot of heavy fire," Raleigh Fire Department Assistant Chief Brad Harvey said. "Especially under construction. The wood is not protected and the fire moves very rapidly. We're very fortunate tonight."

The fire was so large that the smoke was visible on First Alert Doppler XP.

Smoke from fire shows on First Alert Doppler XP

The Metropolitan apartment complex, seen under construction before the fire. (Courtesy of James Willamor)

Jason, who lives directly across the street from the construction site, said he got a little concerned as he saw what began as a small fire quickly escalate.

He told ABC11's Joel Brown that he was at a downtown Raleigh establishment and tried to return to his apartment because he was worried about his dog.

"I tried to make my way back into the building and I couldn't get back in, the police and the fire department were evacuating people and they wouldn't let anyone else back inside," Jason said.

Former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory tweeted late Thursday night: "Sec. Kluttz and husband got out of building near #RaleighFire. God bless the firefighters and first responders. Praying for their safety!"

Clay and Hugo, a couple of Peace University students said they had to park off campus when they were returning from the gym because the streets were blocked off.

The two students said lots of friends and co-workers were calling and texting them to make sure they were OK, a scene repeated countless times in downtown Raleigh on Thursday evening.

Some people who lived south of the building were bringing in items from their balconies and watching out for hot embers blowing toward their homes.

Eyewitnesses told ABC11 it took only a few minutes for the fire to develop into a massive blaze that engulfed the building. The reason is that the frame is all wood and it had no fire protection!

"I heard a bunch of sirens," one woman who lives nearby told ABC11's Joel Brown. "I looked around me and everything was orange."

Conner, another downtown Raleigh resident, told ABC11's Joel Brown the "flames were pretty intense and pretty hot, and the whole building went up in about 10 minutes."

A church on the corner of Salisbury and Hillsborough streets offered to shelter anyone displaced by the fire.

The cause of the fire is not yet known.

Huge fire reported in downtown Raleigh. (Jeff Smith/ABC11 Eyewitness)