Thursday, April 27, 2017

Lake Oswego homeowner sues the city over sinkhole caused by a project last year to shore up a failing stormwater pipe.

  Crews work to stabilize a sinkhole and clear out nearby hazards after heavy rains in December 2015. The City shared this photo with The Review in March 2016, before an Oak Creek homeowner filed a lawsuit over the repairs. (LO Engineering Department via Portland Tribune)

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. (THE REVIEW) — An Oak Creek neighborhood resident has filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Lake Oswego, seeking compensation for alleged property damage caused by an extensive project last year to shore up a failing stormwater pipe.

Rob Amsberry, a City stormwater engineer, and Emery & Sons Construction Inc. are also named as defendants in the federal lawsuit, which was filed April 19 in U.S. District Court in Portland.

Lola Amacher’s lawsuit claims that when contractors acting on behalf of the City restored the landscaping and irrigation system in her backyard after completing repairs to a nearby stormwater pipe, they installed a new irrigation system that uses more water than before and leaks water into the ground even when shut off.

As a result, the lawsuit says, Amacher has been hit with higher water bills and her basement has repeatedly flooded in the months since the project was completed. The lawsuit also claims that the City did not offer fair compensation for the intrusion onto Amacher’s property while the repair work was being done on the pipe.

Additionally, the lawsuit claims that the City denied a personal injury claim filed by Amacher after she allegedly fell and was injured due to the “uneven and unstable condition” on her property during the project.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified financial compensation and punitive damages from the City. It also seeks compensation for attorney fees and asks that the City be rquired to repair the irrigation system by identifying and stopping the source of the leak.

City Engineer Erica Rooney told The Review last week that the City was aware of the lawsuit, but she declined to comment further.

The municipal stormwater line in question runs underneath a Westlake property located directly south of Amacher’s home. The underground pipe is adjacent to the fence that divides the two properties’ backyards. (The dividing line between the properties also aligns with the dividing line between the Westlake and Oak Creek neighborhoods.)

In the middle of an exceptionally rainy winter season in late 2015, a large sinkhole opened up along the back edge of the property belonging to Amacher’s neighbor, swallowing part of both backyards along with the fence that divided them and threatening to destabilize several nearby trees.

Amacher’s lawsuit states that the sinkhole opened “on or around” Nov. 15, 2015, although City officials told The Review last year that the owners of the Westlake property reported the sinkhole on Dec. 10. City staff examined the sinkhole and determined that it had been triggered by a partial collapse of the aging aluminum stormwater pipe.

“The straw that broke the camel’s back was the high flows we had in there,” Amsberry told The Review in March 2016. “I think what happened is the bottom was corroded away and the water scoured out the soils underneath it so it didn’t have any support, so it started folding in on itself, and then it started taking all the soil with it once it finally collapsed.”

As an emergency solution, the City enlisted Emory & Sons Construction to stabilize the hole, install a temporary replacement pipe and remove the affected trees. The contractor had the necessary supplies on hand because of work being done on the Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership at the time, but only for a temporary fix.

The collapsed pipe segment was part of a 350-foot length of pipe that ran under several adjacent properties, Amsberry told The Review last year, and an inspection revealed that the rest of the pipe was in equally bad shape and could collapse in the same way at any time.

Rather than digging a trench through several additional backyards, the City opted to line the inside of the pipe with a stronger HDPE plastic pipe, which could be pushed through piece by piece from an access point at the stabilized sinkhole. The new pipe was installed in early March 2016, and contractors then refilled the hole and restored the yards.

According to Amacher’s lawsuit, Amsberry offered Amacher $6,800 on behalf of the City in May 2016 as compensation for the use and occupation of her property during the project. Amacher declined, the lawsuit states, because the project was still ongoing at the time and she felt that she could not gauge the full extent of its impact on her property. The offer expired on Aug. 8, 2016, the lawsuit says, and Amacher was subsequently told it was no longer available.

The Review sought clarification last week about the City’s compensation policy and how it would apply in this case, but Rooney declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation.

The lawsuit states that Amacher noticed the higher water usage by her new irrigation system during the project and notified the City, and that she continued to ask about it after the work was finished. The lawsuit states that the City made additional visits to try to solve the problem, but the high water bills continued.

In January 2017, the lawsuit states, Amacher found that her basement had flooded and that the water appeared to be coming from her backyard. The lawsuit states that her basement had never flooded during her prior 10 years living on the property, and that she had to install a sump pump and drainage system to prevent further flooding,

The lawsuit was filed by attorneys Neil Olsen and Brian Best of the Lake Oswego law firm Rathbone Barton Olsen PC. Last week, Best declined to comment for this story.

Rideau Transit Group's crawler crane tipped over while lifting a small cement mixer into a hole at the eastern portal of the Confederation LRT Line tunnel in Ottawa

Crane operator escapes injury after heavy machine tips over near LRT tunnel
A crane operator escaped injury Wednesday when he leaped from his heavy machine as it tipped over while lifting a small cement mixer into a hole at the eastern portal of the Confederation LRT Line tunnel near Laurier Avenue and Waller Street.

Rideau Transit Group technical director Peter Lauch said the crane operator was “shaken” but unhurt in the incident, which occurred around 9:30 a.m.

Once the load was on, treads on the crawler crane were to extend to create a square and centre the load to prevent tipping. “Those treads weren’t deployed and that caused an unbalance and therefore we tipped forward,” Lauch told reporters at the scene.

He was unable to say what the cement mixer weighs or the extent of damage to the crane or mixer.

Workers had discussed safety and load capacity beforehand and ensured no one was underneath the empty mixer as it was being lowered, Lauch said.

The Ministry of Labour is investigating. No one from the ministry was available for immediate comment on the incident.

Ottawa and District Labour Council president Sean McKenny said there’s something “amiss” in the LRT tunnel project.

“This is kind of hard to hide,” he said, the toppled crane over his shoulder.

“Clearly our community is seeing that’s something’s amiss in the tunnel.”

McKenny said tunnel workers don’t expect carpeted floors or massages, but they do want safe working conditions. “After this, you can be assured there’s a few more of those workers that are reluctant to go into the tunnel for fear they could be injured,” he said.

McKenny said the contractor forces workers to sign confidentiality agreements, which, in part, prevent them from speaking to the media about the concerns. “Anything that does happen in the tunnel stays in the tunnel.”

McKenny said he will be meeting with LRT officials and transit boss John Manconi Thursday morning and will raise this.

Lauch and Manconi both defended RTG’s safety record.

“It’s a big job site, it’s a tough place to work at times, but having said that, we stand by our safety record,” Lauch said.

All workers in Ontario are protected by provincial health and safety rules and regulations, Manconi said. “They have the right to refuse work, they have the right to report their injuries and they have obligations also.”

The $2.1-billion Confederation Line is to be completed next year. Manconi denied suggestions RTG might be pressuring workers to rush in order to meet that deadline.

“We are not going to compromise safety to meet a deadline,” he said.

Watson was told at council that a vehicle with a crane attached tipped over, but he had not heard why it happened.

“The Ministry of Labour will be on the scene along with RTG to examine what exactly happened,” Watson said at city hall after a council meeting. “We’re very pleased the protocols were followed, no one is hurt and we’ll wait to hear from the Ministry of Labour.”

“Any time there’s any incident, it raises concerns, but this is a massive project, it’s $2.1 billion, and we have one of the safest records on safety in the entire province for a project this size,” Watson said.

The incident is the latest issue to face workers who are busily trying to keep the LRT project on track. Several complaints have been made by workers on the project in recent months about the tight quarters underground, poor sanitation and issues with debris littering the work site underground.

2 iron workers at the construction site of a new Facebook building in Menlo Park injured after part of the building collapsed, causing them to fall

MENLO PARK (CBS SF) – Two iron workers at the construction site of a new Facebook building in Menlo Park were injured Wednesday after part of the building collapsed, causing them to fall, fire officials said.

According to Menlo Park Fire Protection District officials, at 5:21 p.m. fire crews responded to Facebook’s new building 21, which is currently under construction.

At the scene, fire crews were escorted by other construction workers to the two injured men.

According to workers who witnessed the incident, both victims were assembling steel framing about 40 feet above ground when a steel beam they were standing on and attached to dropped about 20 feet.

The beam caught on a lower floor assembly and catapulted the two men toward the ground. Their safety harnesses and rigging broke and stopped their descent before hitting the ground below, fire officials said.

According to fire officials, one victim is in his late 20s and the other is in his early 30s. Both men were conscious after the fall and complained of significant pain to their lower extremities, as well as puncture wounds.

Both men were treated at the scene, then transported to Stanford Hospital and Trauma Center.

In a statement, Menlo Park fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said, “Fortunately, the iron workers were wearing their safety harnesses and rigging, which probably helped save their lives along with, as we understand it, the fact that the beam they were attached to caught on a lower floor assembly, miraculously insuring their survival.”

A number of steel upright and cross beams were damaged in the collapse, according to fire officials. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health will be conducting an investigation of the collapse


2 workers hurt in construction accident at new Facebook building

Two iron workers are recovering this morning after a scary accident at a Facebook construction site. (Menlo Park Fire Protection District)

By Matt Keller
Updated 1 hr 53 mins ago
MENLO PARK, Calif. (KGO) -- Two iron workers are recovering this morning after a scary accident at a Facebook construction site.

A beam suffered what's being called a "catastrophic failure." Workers at the site said the two men were working 40-feet high on Facebook's new Building 21 just before 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. They were putting together the steel framing when that beam dropped about 20 feet, catching on to other parts of the construction, catapulting them towards the ground. Firefighters say their safety harnesses and rigging stopped their fall, before they hit the ground.

Both men, one in his late 20's and the other in his early 30's, Were taken to the hospital with puncture wounds and also pain in their lower bodies. The fire chief says it was miraculous they survived.

CAL OSHA has started their investigation and says there were no previous incidents at this site. They have up to six months to decide if they want to issue a citation for this incident.

Hultgren Construction faces just under $100,000 in fines. Command Center, Inc. faces $114,000 in fines in Copper Lounge Deadly Collapse in downtown Sioux Falls, SD

Updated: Mon 7:11 PM, Apr 24, 2017 

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - A construction company and a staffing agency have been fined roughly $100,000 each for the conditions of a building leading up to its collapse in downtown Sioux Falls last December.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration spokesman Scott Allen told KSFY News that the fines stem from the conditions inside the Copper Lounge before it collapsed on December 2, 2016, killing construction worker Ethan McMahon. The collapse also trapped Emily Fodness, who was living in an apartment on the second floor.

Hultgren Construction faces just under $100,000 in fines. Command Center, Inc. faces $114,000 in fines. Command Center is a staffing agency that had several employees working inside the Copper Lounge building during construction and demolition phases.

Allen said this investigation is based on video and photo evidence that include items that date back to six months ago from Friday, the day the reports were released.

The safety citations for both companies range from a lack of proper safety training and gear like helmets, eye protection and respirators to hazardous use of scaffolding and ladders.

Hultgren Construction also faces additional citations for exposing employees to materials that may have contained asbestos, storing bricks and other debris in a matter that blocked passageways and failing to ensure the debris stored on the floor did not exceed the floor's weight capacity.

While this report did not specifically address the cause of the collapse, the citation for the floor capacity did say that it put the floor at risk of collapse.

OSHA says Hultgren Construction is still being investigated for the building collapse itself and the death of employee Ethan McMahon. Those full results will be released by June 2nd.

In a statement Monday, Aaron Hultgren said "Hultgren Construction, LLC has received a Citation from the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration. We understand and appreciate the important work OSHA undertakes to help ensure safe and healthy working conditions for American workers. As part of this on-going process, we are currently reviewing the documents and will be in contact with OSHA with our response. OSHA, as well as all interested parties, continue to receive our full cooperation."

Brendan Simaytis is the corporate attorney for Command Center. He also issued a statement Monday.

"At Command Center, we take the safety of our workers and others very seriously. We disagree with OHSA’s findings regarding their inspection as it concerns Command Center, and we intend to appeal all issued citations and the associated penalties. The citations do not reflect the manner in which Command Center operates and the importance we place on safety as a company.

We are very sympathetic to the fact that an employee of another company died as the result of the building collapse. Our condolences and sympathies go out to the deceased Hultgren Construction employee’s family. Command Center and its employees had absolutely nothing to do with the ultimate reason the building collapsed. There were no Command Center workers on site at the time of this tragic incident. As a staffing agency, our limited role in this project was to provide workers to work under the direction and supervision of Hultgren Construction. None of the issued citations ascribe any blame to Command Center related to the actual building collapse. We believe the citations and penalties are grossly disproportionate to any activities our employees were involved in at the work site prior to the collapse.

We will thoroughly investigate the bases for OSHA’s findings. In the interim, we will of course comply with all requirements of the issued citations, and we will continue to work, as we always do, on further enhancing our safety programs and practices."

While Hultgren Construction had nearly double the violations of Command Center, the national staffing agency received much larger fines for each citation. OSHA says those fines are based on the total size of the company.

FOLLOWING THE DEATH OF SIX COLLEGE STUDENTS: Segue Construction of Pleasanton is losing its license for shoddy work on the apartment balcony at 2020 Kittredge St in Berkeley

Officials determined that although the plans called for pressure-treated joists that could resist rot, Segue used an engineered wood product not intended to be used for decking or, in this case, a balcony. Investigators reported that the balcony assembly was not properly waterproofed, which allowed water to seep into the balcony assembly. The balcony material then rotted and weakened.

CA revokes license of contractor in Berkeley balcony collapse

  • The California Contractors State License Board has revoked the license of Segue Construction, the company whose alleged shoddy construction work led to a deadly balcony collapse in Berkeley, CA, in 2015, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • Segue agreed to the revocation as part of a settlement deal with the licensing board, which also requires two former company officials pay up to $115,000 to cover the board's investigation bills. Segue can apply for license renewal in 2022.
  • Thirteen people, who were attending a birthday party at a Berkeley, CA, apartment complex, fell to the ground when the fifth-floor balcony on which they were standing gave way. Six were killed and seven were injured.
  • The licensing board began the push to revoke Segue's license back in December, maintaining that the company did not perform the balcony installation according to the plans and specifications or in a "good and workmanlike manner."

Officials determined that although the plans called for pressure-treated joists that could resist rot, Segue used an engineered wood product not intended to be used for decking or, in this case, a balcony. Investigators reported that the balcony assembly was not properly waterproofed, which allowed water to seep into the balcony assembly. The balcony material then rotted and weakened.

Licensing board officials suggested that if Segue had constructed the balcony according to the plans and specifications, it would have been able to withstand the weight of the 13 people who fell. Segue was also reportedly sued in 2010 for faulty balcony installations on a project in San Jose, CA.

Even though there was a loss of life in the Berkeley case, prosecutors declined to bring criminal charges, but the families of those injured and killed have filed civil suits against Segue, subcontractors on the project and the apartment complex owner.

After the collapse, state legislators passed California SB 465, which gave the licensing board more oversight over contractors and mandated two studies — one looking into whether an analysis of past contractor judgment and lawsuit information would add to industry safety, and the other considering necessary changes to state building codes.


The state has revoked the license of the contractor that built the balcony in Berkeley that collapsed in 2015, killing six college students, essentially putting the company out of business for at least five years.

Segue Construction of Pleasanton is losing its license in a settlement with the California Contractors State License Board, which accused the company of doing shoddy work on the apartment balcony at 2020 Kittredge St. when it built the structure between 2005 and 2007.

Under the settlement, which goes into effect May 19, the company admitted no wrongdoing but agreed not to apply for license renewal until at least 2022. Two of its former managers must pay the board’s investigation bills before they can obtain new licenses.

The tab for Kirk Alan Wallis, who held titles at Segue, including president from 1992 to 2008, is $99,950. For David Michael Dunlop, a manager from 2002 to 2008, the penalty is “an amount not to exceed $15,000.”

The fifth-floor balcony cracked loose June 16, 2015, during a 21st birthday party near UC Berkeley for Aoife Beary, an Irish student who was seriously injured in the catastrophe. Thirteen young people — five visiting from Ireland — plunged to the ground.

“This is certainly one of the most serious cases we’ve seen,” said Rick Lopes, a license board spokesman. He said a construction company cannot work in California without a license.

The phone at Segue’s office has been disconnected, and attempts to reach Wallis and Dunlop were unsuccessful.

An employee of BGF Industries, Inc. injured after he fell from a ladder onto a lower roof of the facility in Altavista, VA

ALTAVISTA, Va. (WSET) -- An employee of BGF Industries, Inc. has been hurt in an accident at the facility in Altavista.

The company's president said one of the employees fell from a short ladder onto the lower roof of the facility on Monday resulting in a serious injury.

Robby Dunnagan said the circumstances of the accident are currently under investigation and have been reported to OSHA.

"We never want our employees to be hurt at work, or away from their jobs. BGF will cooperate fully with OSHA and our Worker’s Compensation insurer to investigate this accident and try to design ways to prevent a recurrence," Dunnagan wrote in a release.

He went on to say the company extends their thoughts and prayers to the employee and his family during this time.

BGF Industries is a US manufacturer of innovative technical fiber materials for global markets. Our products deliver high strength, high temperature, lightweight solutions that provide structural integrity, thermal, environmental and ballistic protection, or decorative appeal in countless everyday products from circuit boards to surf boards, from mufflers to snowmobiles, airplanes to armor and everything in between, according to its website.

The Russian naval intelligence ship Liman sank off Turkey's Black Sea coast on Thursday after colliding with the Togo-flagged Youzarsif H vessel carrying livestock

Russian intelligence ship sinks off Turkey's Black Sea coast: authorities

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A Russian naval intelligence ship sank off Turkey's Black Sea coast on Thursday after colliding with a vessel carrying livestock and all 78 personnel on board were evacuated, Turkey's coastal safety authority said.

The ship, identified as the Liman, collided with the Togo-flagged Youzarsif H, the authority said on its website.

The collision was caused due to fog and low visibility, the Turkish shipping agency GAC said. It occurred 18 miles (29 km) from Kilyos village on the Black Sea coast just north of Istanbul, broadcaster NTV said.

Turkish authorities dispatched a tugboat and three fast rescue vessels, the coastal safety authority said.

Advisers to Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim conveyed his sadness over the incident to Russian counterparts, according to sources in his office.

No information was immediately available about the state of the Youzarsif H, or its crew or cargo. The Togo-flagged livestock carrier was built in 1977 and has a capacity of 2,418 tonnes, according to Thomson Reuters shipping data.

It is managed by Nejem Co. Marine Services, according to the data.

It was not clear whether either vessel was headed to the Bosphorus Strait from the Black Sea.

The Bosphorus, which cuts through Istanbul, is one of the world's most important waterways for transit of oil and grains. The 17-mile waterway connects the Black Sea to the Mediterranean.


Russian Navy reconnaissance ship sinks after collision in Black Sea
Published time: 27 Apr, 2017 11:39Edited time: 27 Apr, 2017 14:39
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FILE PHOTO: Russian Navy's reconnaissance ship sails in the Bosphorus © Murad Sezer / Reuters

A Russian Navy reconnaissance ship has sunk after colliding with another vessel near the Bosporus, the Russian Defense Ministry reported.

The hull of ‘the Liman,’ a 1,560-ton reconnaissance ship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, was breached below the waterline in the collision, the Defense Ministry said.

The Turkish coast guard said it rescued 78 people from the Russian ship, which was later confirmed by the Russian authorities.

“All crew members of the research ship of the Black Sea Fleet are alive and well and are currently preparing for evacuation from the Turkish rescue ship to a Russian ship,” the Defense Ministry said.

According to the Defense Ministry, ‘the Liman’ collided with another ship, ‘Ashot-7,’ about 40km northwest from the Bosporus Strait.

Media identified the other ship involved in the collision as the Togo-flagged livestock carrier ‘Youzarsif H.’

Advisers to Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim spoke to their Russian counterparts on Thursday to convey Ankara's sadness over the collision, according to Reuters. The Russian cabinet office said a phone call between Yildirim and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was scheduled for later in the day.

‘The Liman’ was built during Soviet times in Poland and commissioned in 1970. It is mostly unarmed, but carries a radar station, a hydroacoustic detector and other reconnaissance equipment needed to track surface ships and submarines.


April 27 2017 12:56 PM

A Russian navy reconnaissance ship has sunk off Istanbul after colliding with a freighter in the Black Sea.

All 78 personnel on board the Liman are accounted for after it collided with the Togo-flagged freighter Youzarsif H.

The Turkish safety authority said 15 Russian sailors were rescued after the collision.

The freighter was carrying livestock, and all of its crew is safe.

A hole was punched in the starboard side of the Liman during the collision, which occurred around midday on Thursday about 25 miles north-west of the Bosphorus Strait.

The cause of the collision was not immediately clear.

The Liman was part of the Black Sea Fleet. The Interfax news agency reported that it spent much of the winter in the Mediterranean off the coast of Syria and returned to the Black Sea to monitor NATO exercises in February.

The rescued Russian sailors are all aboard a Turkish rescue vessel and will be picked up by a nearby Russian cargo ship, the Ulus Star, the Russian defence ministry said.

It said the cargo ship would deliver the sailors to the home base of the Black Sea Fleet, which is on Crimea, the peninsula Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

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Candida auris fungus is emerging as a new 'superbug' menace in U.S. hospitals, mostly in New York and New Jersey.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 12:53PM
NEW YORK -- A 'superbug' fungus is emerging as a new menace in U.S. hospitals, mostly in New York and New Jersey.

First identified in Japan in 2009, the fungus has spread to more than a dozen countries around the globe. The oldest of the 66 cases reported in the U.S. dates back to 2013, but most were reported in the last year.

The fungus called Candida auris is a harmful form of yeast. Scientists say it can be hard to identify with standard lab tests. U.S. health officials sounded alarms last year because two of the three kinds of commonly used antifungal drugs have little effect.

"It's acting like a superbug" bacteria, said Dr. Paige Armstrong of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Most vulnerable are fragile hospital patients - particularly newborns and the elderly. It tends to be diagnosed in patients after they've been in hospitals for several weeks. The fungus can infect wounds, ears and the bloodstream.

A study presented at a CDC conference this week detailed how researchers traveled to South America to help investigate an outbreak in three Colombia cities. They found the fungus on surfaces in hospital rooms and on the skin of nurses and patients - even after patients were treated with antifungal medications.

On Tuesday, state health officials provided new details about the 44 cases in New York. Aside from one case in Rochester, all were in New York City, at 15 hospitals and a doctor's office. No site has had more than six cases.

Seventeen New York patients died, but state officials said everyone infected had other illnesses and the fungus was not necessarily the cause of death.

New Jersey has had 15 cases, Illinois, 4, and there's been one case in Indiana, Maryland and Massachusetts, according to the CDC.


Candida auris Questions and Answers

Strain of Candida auris
A strain of Candida auris cultured in a petri dish at CDC.
Healthcare facilities in several countries have reported that a type of yeast called Candida auris has been causing severe illness in hospitalized patients. In some patients, this yeast can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, causing serious invasive infections. This yeast often does not respond to commonly used antifungal drugs, making infections difficult to treat. Patients who have been in the intensive care unit for a long time or have a central venous catheter placed in a large vein, and have previously received antibiotics or antifungal medications, appear to be at highest risk of infection with this yeast.
Specialized laboratory methods are needed to accurately identify C. auris. Conventional lab techniques could lead to misidentification and inappropriate treatment, making it difficult to control the spread of C. auris in healthcare settings.
Because of these factors, CDC is alerting U.S. healthcare facilities to be on the lookout for C. auris in their patients.
CDC and partners continue to work closely; click here for the latest information on Candida auris. To learn more about Candida auris, read the Q&A below and CDC’s Interim Recommendations.

Why is CDC concerned about C. auris infections?

CDC is concerned about C. auris for three main reasons:
  1. It is often multidrug-resistant, meaning that it is resistant to most antifungal drugs commonly used to treat Candida infections.
  2. It is difficult to identify with standard laboratory methods, and it can be misidentified in labs without specific technology. Misidentification may lead to inappropriate treatment.
  3. It has caused outbreaks in healthcare settings. For this reason, rapid identification of C. auris in a hospitalized patient is particularly important so that hospitals can take special precautions to stop its spread.

What types of infections can C. auris cause?

C. auris has caused bloodstream infections, wound infections, and ear infections. It also has been isolated from respiratory and urine specimens, but it is unclear if it causes infections in the lung or bladder.

How is C. auris infection diagnosed?

Like other Candida infections, C. auris infections are usually diagnosed by fungal culture of blood or other body fluids. However, C. auris is harder to identify from cultures than other, more common types of Candida. For example, it can be confused with other types of yeasts, particularly Candida haemulonii. Special laboratory tests are needed to identify C. auris. Learn more on the C. auris Interim Recommendations page.

Who is at risk for infection from C. auris?

Limited data suggest that the risk factors for Candida auris infections are generally similar to risk factors for other types of Candida infections. These risk factors include recent surgery, diabetes, broad-spectrum antibiotic and antifungal use, and central venous catheter use. Infections have been found in patients of all ages, from preterm infants to the elderly. Further study is needed to learn more about risk factors for C. auris infection.

When was C. auris first reported?

C. auris was first identified in 2009 in Japan. Retrospective review of Candida strain collections found that the earliest known strain of C. auris dates to 1996 in South Korea. CDC considers C. auris an emerging pathogen because increasing numbers of infections have been identified in multiple countries since it was recognized.

How did C. auris get its name?

Auris is the Latin word for ear. Despite its name, C. auris can also affect many other regions of the body and can cause invasive infections, including bloodstream infections and wound infections.

Where have C. auris infections occurred globally?

C. auris infections have been reported from over a dozen countries, including Canada, Colombia, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Norway, Pakistan, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela, as well as the United States. Because identification of C. auris requires specialized laboratory methods, infections likely have occurred in other countries but have not been identified or reported.

How did C. auris infection spread globally?

CDC conducted whole genome sequencing of C. auris specimens from countries in the regions of eastern Asia, southern Asia, southern Africa, and South America. Whole genome sequencing produces detailed DNA fingerprints of organisms. CDC found that isolates within each region are quite similar to one another, but are relatively different across regions. These differences suggest that C. auris has emerged independently in multiple regions at roughly the same time.

Would someone be likely to get a C. auris infection if they travel to any of these countries?

It is unlikely that routine travel to countries with documented C. auris infections would increase the chance of someone getting sick from C. auris. Infections have occurred primarily in patients who were already in the hospital for other reasons. People who travel to these countries to seek medical care or who are hospitalized there for a long time may have an increased risk for C. auris infection

Have C. auris infections occurred in the United States?

Cases of C. auris infections have been reported in the United States. As laboratories continue to look for this fungus, it is likely that more cases will be reported. Click here for a map of cases in the United States.

What should someone do if they suspect they have a C. auris infection?

CDC recommends that anyone who believes they have any fungal infection or healthcare-associated infection see a healthcare provider.

Are C. auris infections treatable?

Most C. auris infections are treatable with a class of antifungal drugs called echinocandins. However, some C. auris infections have been resistant to all three main classes of antifungal medications, making them more difficult to treat. In this situation, multiple classes of antifungals at high doses may be required to treat the infection. Treatment decisions should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider experienced in treating patients with fungal infections.

Can a person die from infection with C. auris?

Yes. Invasive infections with any Candida species can be fatal. We don’t know if patients with invasive C. auris infection are more likely to die than patients with other invasive Candida infections. Based on information from a limited number of patients, 60% of people with C. auris infections have died. However, many of these people had other serious illnesses that also increased their risk of death.

How does C. auris spread?

C. auris can spread in healthcare settings through contact with contaminated environmental surfaces or equipment, or from person to person. More work is needed to further understand how it spreads.

How can the spread of C. auris be prevented?

Please see the C. auris Interim Recommendations page.

What is CDC doing to address C. auris?

CDC is providing guidance for clinicians and infection control personnel. For more information, please see the Interim Recommendations for reporting, laboratory diagnosis, infection control, and environmental cleaning. CDC also is working with state and local health agencies, healthcare facilities, and clinical microbiology laboratories to ensure that laboratories are using proper methods to detect C. auris and know the limitations of certain tests for detecting C. auris.

Vacant home explodes in St. Louis, MO


An explosion in a vacant home that rocked the Baden neighborhood Wednesday injured no one on the street, despite the shards of glass, window casings and chunks of rubble sent flying at a normally busy time of day, a fire captain said.

“It’s miraculous for 8:30 in the morning, not to have any injuries, no one walking by,” said Capt. Garon Mosby of the St. Louis Fire Department. “It’s a good day for us.”

The brick bungalow in the 8600 block of Oriole Avenue was flattened. The cause of the blast is under investigation, but the leading theory is that it was a gas explosion.

Firefighters believe the home had been vacant, and a search by the St. Louis Fire Department’s Collapse Rescue Task Force found no evidence that anyone had been hurt. Mosby said the task force used a sensitive listening device that could detect the faintest of movements and sounds.

Crews worried about a potential gas leak evacuated neighbors on the block. Firefighters first to arrive were unable to shut off the gas at the curb, so they dug through the rubble to turn it off from inside the leveled home.

The brick homes on either side sustained moderate damage, including a few blown-out windows. Part of the roof of the home that exploded fell onto the roofs of the adjacent homes. One of those adjacent homes was occupied at the time of the explosion, Mosby said.

Debris was blown as far as across the street.

David West lives eight or nine houses away. “I heard it and felt it,” West said of the explosion. “It was like North Korea had dropped a bomb on us.”

West thought something had happened to his own home, so he scrambled into the attic, fully expecting to see something caved in. Then, he looked outside and saw a neighbor pointing up the alley. West said he then went up the street and saw neighbors approach the debris, trying to see if anyone was trapped.

West said he didn’t smell anything that might signal a natural gas leak as he got close. He said the home had been undergoing rehab.

Mosby said the fire department, the St. Louis Regional Bomb and Arson Squad and Laclede Gas all were investigating the blast.

But he said investigators were looking at a gas explosion as a likely culprit.

“It’s not really the fault of the gas company,” Mosby said. “We have a vacant-structure challenge in the city. This could be a gas leak or ... people take pipes, and if somebody takes a pipe and it’s gas piping, that could lead to issues as well.”

Mosby said the fire department gets calls frequently for gas leaks due to missing pipes.

The theory is that someone could have broken into the home and stolen a pipe to sell as scrap metal. Mosby urged city residents to report anything suspicious in their neighborhoods, such as someone going in and out of a vacant home. He said he had heard of no reports of such crimes on Oriole.

Anadarko Petroleum Co. has shut down 3,000 wells in Firestone, Colorado after the fatal explosion of a home 200 feet from one of its old wells that killed two and injured another

Mark and Erin Martinez.

Possible link between Anadarko-operated gas well and fatal Firestone home explosion

Oil and gas giant Anadarko has shut down some 3,000 wells in northern Colorado in the aftermath of the fatal explosion of a home some 200 feet from one of its old wells. 

Susan Greene
April 26, 2017 Environment/Energy

Despite suggestions that plumbing work may have led to last week’s fatal house explosion in Firestone, it looks as though a leak related to a nearby gas well may have been the cause.

In a statement this afternoon, oil and gas giant Anadarko acknowledged that it operates a vertical well that’s about 200 feet from the newly built house on Twilight Avenue that exploded April 17, killing brothers-in-law Mark Martinez and Joseph William Irwin III, both 42, and severely injuring Erin Martinez, Mark’s wife. A GoFundMe page has been created for the family.

The Frederick-Firestone Fire Protection District and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) are investigating the cause of the blast.

A source has told The Independent that personnel and trucks bearing Anadarko’s logo responded soon after the explosion, and that company personnel at and near the scene over the following days came in unmarked vehicles and clothes. They were apparently paying special attention to a feeder line that may have been severed near the home.

Anadarko spokesman John Christiansen wouldn’t respond to that report, nor to questions on other aspects of his company’s possible involvement.

“There’s a lot that we don’t know and I’m not going to comment other than what’s in the press release,” said Christensen, who’s based in Texas but is in Colorado this week.

The company says the nearby vertical well was drilled in 1993 by what it noted in its statement was “a previous operator.”

As a result of the explosion, Anadarko has shut down some 3,000 wells in northern Colorado in what it calls “an abundance of caution.”

Firestone is in Weld County, about 30 miles north of Denver. Housing tracts are being built in on the heavily-drilled land there.

News stories after the explosion reported that Irwin, a master plumber, was helping Mark Martinez install a hot water heater, apparently at or near the time of the explosion. The insinuation was that their work may have led to their deaths.

But that narrative sounded immediately curious to those who knew Irwin and his work, and became less plausible when Colorado’s Public Utilities Commission passed the investigation on to the COGCC, which regulates the oil and gas industry.

In a statement, the COGCC said that it has been investigating the incident since Friday, April 18. The investigation includes “directing environmental sampling and inspecting oil and gas wells in the vicinity, including an Anadarko oil and gas operation located approximately 170 feet southeast of the property, and reviewing their history.” The Commission says it is also evaluating additional steps to review activities in the region.

The 170-foot distance the COGCC cited is less than the 200-foot estimate Anadarko cited in its statement.

“While the well in the vicinity is one aspect of the investigation, this is a complex investigation and the origin and cause of the fire have not been determined,” Theodore Poszywak, Firestone’s fire chief, said in a statement that indicated his department is continuing to gather and analyze evidence to determine the cause of the blast. The department says it will release the findings to the public “without delay” when they are complete.


Anadarko Petroleum Issues Statement Regarding Colorado Operations

HOUSTON, TEXAS, April 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (NYSE: APC) provided the following statement regarding the tragic home explosion and fire in Firestone, Colo., that occurred on April 17.
"This terrible tragedy has left all of us with heavy hearts, and the families and their loved ones are in our thoughts and prayers," said Al Walker, Anadarko Chairman, President and CEO. "Words cannot express how saddened we are that this occurred in a community where many of our employees, their families, and friends live and work. We share the community's gratitude for the courageous response of neighbors and nearby construction crews who quickly came to the aid of the family, as well as the first responders and others who made sure surrounding homes were kept safe."

While there is still much that is not yet known regarding the potential contributing factors, Anadarko operates an older vertical well that was drilled by a previous operator in 1993 and is located approximately 200 feet from where the home was recently built. As such, the company has been working cooperatively with fire officials and state regulatory agencies in their investigations since the time of the accident. 

While these events remain under active investigation and much remains to be determined, in an abundance of caution, since the company operates more than 3,000 producing vertical wells of the same vintage, it has taken proactive measures to shut in all vertical wells across the counties in northeast Colorado where it operates. The wells will remain shut in until the company's field personnel can conduct additional inspections and testing of the associated equipment, such as facilities and underground lines associated with each wellhead. Particular focus is being placed on areas where housing and commercial developments are occurring in close proximity to existing infrastructure. The wells will not be restarted until each has undergone and passed these additional inspections. Anadarko currently anticipates the process will take two to four weeks, depending on weather. The wells currently account for total production of about 13,000 net barrels of oil equivalent per day. 

"Our teams will remain actively engaged with residents in the Firestone community," said Brad Holly, Anadarko Sr. Vice President, U.S. Onshore Exploration and Production. "Colorado residents must feel safe in their own homes, and I want to be clear that we are committed to understanding all that we can about this tragedy as we work with each investigating agency until causes can be determined."

This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Anadarko believes that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions. No assurance, however, can be given that such expectations will prove to have been correct. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the projections, anticipated results or other expectations expressed in this news release, including the timing of operational activities and determinations or other factors related to investigatory efforts. See "Risk Factors" in the company's 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and other public filings and press releases. Anadarko undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements.


Oil-gas wells shut down after Colorado home explosion
Originally published April 26, 2017 at 4:48 pm Updated April 26, 2017 at 6:06 pm

In this April 18, 2017, photo, an investigator with the Firestone Police places evidence markers on debris near a house that was destroyed in a deadly explosion in Firestone, Colo., on April 17.... (Matthew Jonas/The Daily Times Call via AP) More

The Associated Press

DENVER (AP) — Oil field crews are shutting down and inspecting more than 3,000 Colorado oil and gas wells as a precaution after a house explosion killed two people, but investigators haven’t determined whether a well caused the blast, officials said Wednesday.

Anadarko Petroleum said it operated a 24-year-old well about 200 feet (60 meters) from the site of the April 17 explosion and fire in the town of Firestone.

Fire department investigators said the well is part of their inquiry but they haven’t determined the cause of the explosion.

The blast killed Mark Martinez and Joseph William Irwin III. Erin Martinez, who was married to Mark Martinez, was badly burned. Irwin was her brother.

The proximity of subdivisions and wells is a source of contention in Colorado, where fast-growing cities sometimes overlap with lucrative oil and gas fields.

Conflicts have generated lawsuits and attempts to overhaul state rules, and the Legislature killed a proposal this year that would have increased the minimum distance between schools and new oil and gas facilities.

Anadarko said the well near the explosion was drilled in 1993 and that the house was built recently, but the year of construction wasn’t immediately available. The company said the well was drilled by another operator, which it did not identify.

Firestone, a community of about 10,000 people 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Denver, is in an oilfield.

Anadarko called the explosion a tragedy and expressed sympathy for the victims and their families. The company said it is cooperating with fire investigators and state regulators.

Anadarko said it will lose the equivalent of 13,000 barrels of oil a day while its 3,000 wells are turned off. A barrel is 42 gallons (151 liters).

Anadarko spokesman John Christiansen declined to disclose the estimated value of the product.

The company said the wells won’t resume operating until they are checked, and the process will take two to four weeks.

The wells being shut down and the one near the site of the explosion are all vertical, Anadarko said. Newer technology allows drilling rigs to bore vertically and then horizontally to reach oil or gas some distance away.

All the wells being shut down are about the same age as the one near the home, the company said.

Construction worker Derrick Douglas, 41, died, another injured after the boom lift they were working in tipped over at the Wellington Point Apartments in Smyrna, Georgia

Norman Strozier Jr., 36, of Atlanta. Injured

Construction worker killed after boom lift tips over in Smyrna, GA

Jon Gargis

A construction worker died Tuesday after the boom lift he was working in tipped over, Cobb authorities said Wednesday.

Derrick Douglas, 41, of College Park was killed in the incident at the Wellington Point Apartments, 50 Maner Terrace in Smyrna, which saw Douglas ejected from the bucket of the boom lift when it tipped over, according to Officer Alicia Chilton, spokesperson for Cobb Police.

The incident also critically injured another worker, who, along with Douglas, was taken to WellStar Kennestone Hospital, where Douglas was pronounced dead.

An incident report provided to the MDJ by Cobb Police just before press time Wednesday identified the second victim as Norman Strozier Jr., 36, of Atlanta. Strozier suffered possible internal injuries and his right lower leg was broken, according to the report. Authorities did not update his condition Wednesday.

Lt. Dan Dupree, spokesperson for Cobb Fire, said Tuesday’s incident occurred at about 2:23 p.m.

The Cobb County Police Department’s Crimes Against Persons Unit responded to the scene of the incident and found no criminal activity, Chilton said, adding that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration would be conducting an investigation.

OSHA spokesperson Michael D’Aquino confirmed Wednesday that the agency was investigating the incident, but could provide no further details.


One person died and another was critically injured in a construction accident at a Cobb County apartment complex, a police spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The incident was reported about 2:20 p.m. Tuesday at the Wellington Point Apartments on Maner Terrace.

Derrick Douglas, 41, was in the bucket of a boom lift machine when the machine tipped over, Cobb police Officer Alicia Chilton said. Douglas, who was working on a construction project at the apartment complex at the time of the accident, was ejected from the bucket along with a coworker.

They were taken to WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Chilton said. Douglas was pronounced dead. The other worker, whose name was not released, was listed in critical condition, she said.

“The Cobb County Police Department’s Crimes Against Persons Unit responded to the scene and found no criminal activity,” Chilton said.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident.

No other details were released.

Union Pacific train car carrying used Lithium Ion batteries explodes and catches fire near downtown Houston, Texas

A train explosion on Sunday evening blew out windows and sent a chemical stench across downtown Houston.

The shock from the blast could be felt as far as a mile and a half away.

Houston Independent School District board member Diana Dávila had just finished watching the Rockets playoff game with her family when they heard the loud boom.

About two minutes later, she could smell something acrid.

"We didn't let my nieces and nephews play basketball outside afterward," Dávila said. "Not until we knew what it was, and the smell was gone."

When Houston firefighters arrived at the scene, the Union Pacific conductor told them the materials on the car were "nothing hazardous," according to Capt. Ruy Lozano.

Thirty minutes later, Union Pacific explained that the car held lithium ion batteries on the way to San Antonio for recycling. The cause of the explosion is still under investigation.

Union Pacific spokesman Jeff DeGraff said the batteries are not hazardous, and air monitoring after the incident found nothing toxic. But safety data says lithium fumes are irritants to lungs, eyes and throats.

No shelter in place was issued to nearby residents, and no notifications were sent to the public about what happened.

Dávila and her family didn't know details until her nephew pulled up some news on social media 40 minutes later.

Air Alliance Houston is backing a bill in the state legislature to create a system of push alerts to mobile phones during any chemical incident that would "substantially endanger human health or the environment."

Right now, the decision on when to alert the public in the immediate aftermath is left to local agencies. Federal regulations require companies to report toxic releases over certain amounts to the appropriate agency but do not mandate immediate public disclosure in an emergency.

"It's going to happen again," Air Alliance outreach director Leticia Ablaza said. "We just feel like we're in the dark on the companies utilizing the railroad and what materials are being shipped."

A Houston Chronicle investigation last year found that city officials have no idea what's being transported through Houston, as no government agency tracks what's coming and going on the highways and rails.

The city also has no control over when and where hazardous materials are transported on rail routes.

Federal regulations leave that decision to rail carriers.

"We do have the discretion to select the most efficient route," DeGraff said. "The other option is putting it on trucks going on 610, I-10, and all around. Rail is the safest way to carry it."

When rail companies do move hazardous materials, they are under no obligation to notify authorities. Air Alliance Houston is urging people to seek medical attention if they have symptoms. Union Pacific is asking those affected by the explosion to call 281-350-7390 to make a claim


HOUSTON - KHOU 11 found cleanup crews on the 1200 block of Chapman Monday afternoon picking up the debris from a train car explosion.

Inside of the nearly half dozen industrial-sized dumpster containers were the remnants of the burned shipment of recycled lithium-ion batteries, electronics and laptop computers.

The fire smoldered for hours after the blast, filling the air with noxious smells and smokes, which KHOU-11 has learned can be a potential health hazard.

Neighbors living near the railroad tracks and environmental advocates say the incident has left them with unanswered questions.

“What information we’re trying to get is what was it that caused the explosion,” executive director Air Alliance Houston Bakeyah Nelson said.

A Union Pacific spokesman said investigators were making the rounds near the scene of the blast, speaking with neighbors and local businesses to assess the damage to their properties. He said nobody was injured and a direct phone line has been established for those wishing to file claims related specifically to this incident: 281-350-7390.

Neighbors fear this sort of incident could happen again and that they have no idea what hazardous material or chemicals may be passing through their neighborhoods. The scene of the explosion was eight blocks from an elementary school.

“One of the things about this incident last night is that there was no notification by Alert Houston about what was going on,” Public Citizen’s Stephanie Thomas said. “People didn’t know if they needed to shelter in place or if they were OK.”

Lithium-ion battery fires should not be extinguished with water, however, HFD fire crews hosed the blaze for nearly one hour after the explosion. KHOU 11 is still attempting to identify the line of communication between the railroad and fire crews shortly after the blast.

The Union Pacific spokesman says he was unsure if a particular decal is dedicated to cargo shipments containing masses of lithium-ion batteries and did not know if the train car involved in Sunday’s explosion had one that fire crews would have seen.

An Houston Fire Department spokesman said the responding crews to the explosion operated off of information given them by Union Pacific at the time, stating there were no hazardous materials involved in that specific train car.

Union Pacific says it does not consider lithium-ion batteries to be hazardous material.  Is this a joke?


HOUSTON - A train car carrying lithium batteries heading to recycling exploded just north of downtown Houston on Sunday.

The blast was so strong, it broke windows in nearby homes.

"The moment that I got into the threshold and got inside an explosion went off and it threw me into the other side of the door, so there was a tremendous amount of force – I had no idea what was happening." said Tashi Garcia, who lives nearby the railroad tracks.

After the ringing in his ears subsided, he said he checked out the damage to his home. There were broken windows and cracks along the walls.

"It looks like someone's just gone through, throwing stuff." he said.

A Union Pacific spokesman said the train's conductor noticed smoke coming from one of the train cars and stopped the train.

When he went to inspect it, he saw one of the cars was on fire.

The spokesman said the car was carrying a load of lithium ion batteries and was heading to a recycling center.

He said the batteries aren't considered hazardous material.

There were no reports of injuries after the blast.

Anyone who was affected by the blast can call 888-877-7267 to file a claim with Union Pacific.