Saturday, May 13, 2017

2 killed after a Beech 36 Bonanza plane crashed in wooded terrain northwest of Hopkinsville-Christian County Airport, Kentucky

By Karla Ward

Two people died after a plane crashed in Christian County Friday.

Christian County Emergency Management Director Randy Graham said they were the only two people aboard the single-engine plane, which took off in Iowa and was bound for Alabama.

Graham said the remains of the victims were taken to the state medical examiner’s office in Louisville for an autopsy. He declined to release the identities of the crash victims.

The crash site is in a wooded area about five miles northwest of Hopkinsville, Graham said.

Kathleen Bergen, spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, told the Associated Press that the Beechcraft Bonanza crashed at about 12:30 p.m. Friday.

Communicators at the airfield at Fort Campbell had voice contact with the plane’s occupants but shortly afterward lost radar contact, Graham said.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

Graham said the NTSB has an investigator at the scene talking with the landowner and witnesses who heard or saw the crash. A recovery team is being assembled to remove the wreckage, he said.


CHRISTIAN COUNTY, Ky. (CLARKSVILLENOW) – Emergency crews are responding to a plane crash in Kentucky Friday afternoon.

WKRN News 2 reports that it happened before 1 p.m. Friday in the 8000 block of Shurdan Creek Road in Christian County near Hopkinsville.

Multiple were killed, although it’s unknown how many people onboard at the time of the crash, according to Deputy Chris Miller with the Christian County Sheriff’s Office.

Miller said there were no survivors.

Gov. Matt Bevin confirmed that there were multiple fatalities. He issued a statement in a tweet saying, “We’ve received word of a multiple fatality plane crash in Hopkinsville,” and asked for prayers for those affected.

It is unknown how many people were on-board the plane.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the aircraft is a a Beechcraft Bonanza. The wreckage is spread over a wide area.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

A Beech 36 Bonanza plane


Kentucky Gov. Bevin says multiple deaths from Hopkinsville plane crash

 Updated: May 12, 2017 6:22 PM EST

Photo courtesy: WHOP AM/FM HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (AP) -

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin says multiple people died after a small plane crashed in Hopkinsville on Friday.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the Beechcraft Bonanza crashed in Hopkinsville at about 12:30 p.m. on Friday. She said the wreckage is spread over a wide area.

Bevin issued a statement in a tweet saying, "We've received word of a multiple fatality plane crash in Hopkinsville," and asked for prayers for those affected.

Local officials were not immediately available to provide information on the number of people on board or their conditions.


Date: 12-MAY-2017
Time: 11:53
Beech 36 Bonanza


C/n / msn:

Fatalities: Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities: 0
Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: Christian County, Hopkinsville, KY - United States of America
Phase: En route
Nature: Unknown
Departure airport: Iowa
Destination airport: Alabama
The aircraft impacted wooded terrain northwest of Hopkinsville-Christian County Airport (KHVC) in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.
The airplane was destroyed and the 2 occupants were fatally injured.
Communicators at the airfield at Fort Campbell had voice contact with the pilot but shortly afterward lost radar contact.


The Lanvale Towers fire in Baltimore, MD was caused by an improperly discarded cigarette material inside of the eighth-floor trash chute.


Investigators have revealed a cause of a large two-alarm fire at the Lanvale Towers over Easter weekend.

Investigators have determined that the fire was caused by an improperly discarded cigarette material inside of the eighth-floor trash chute.

While the investigation is considered finished, it could be reopened.

"Fire investigators concluded the investigation in the Lanvale Towers fire; however, if someone were to come forward to say they know who actually threw or discarded the cigarette material in the trash chute, that would be a matter for Baltimore City police to handle, or housing inspectors," Baltimore City Fire Service spokeswoman Blair Adams said.

Some residents of Lanvale Towers will be allowed to return home Monday.

Inspectors condemned Lanvale Towers after an Easter Sunday fire broke out on the eighth floor and spread to the roof, forcing 173 people living in 151 units to seek shelter elsewhere. The city put up 105 of them in hotels all over town.

“It was unfortunate that the residents of Lanvale Towers were without a placeto stay,” Fire Chief Niles R. Ford said in a statement. “Fortunately, no one was injured andeveryone was able to escape safely.”

Baltimore Housing officials said the Fire Department gave the go-ahead Thursday for 36 units to open on Monday.

"It will all take place on Monday sometime between 1 and 2 o'clock. We are working with (Housing and Urban Development) to get reimbursed because all those dollars we spent for the hotel, we will ask HUD to reimburse us for those dollars as well," said Reginald Scriber, deputy commissioner of community services for Baltimore Housing.

The city said it also provided food and transportation to residents living in hotels.

Scriber said city officials hope to have more people returning to Lanvale Towers by the end of June, but the current focus is on getting the first 36 units occupied again.

"We are now working out what locations they were in in the building and whether or not those units that they were in are the ones that they are going to be occupying on Monday," Scriber said.


Lanvale Towers condemned after fire on Easter

More than 170 residents need to find new homes

Kate Amara Reporter


Lanvale Towers was officially condemned on Wednesday since a fire on Easter Sunday.

According to city fire officials, the fire started on the eighth floor and spread through the roof. The cause remains under investigation, but the condition of the building became clear Wednesday.

More than 170 people need to find a new place to live.

"I don't like it. No, I hate it," said Brenda Mitchell, a displaced resident.

Fifty-four displaced residents have been staying at a Red Cross emergency shelter that was set up two blocks away.

"(I'm) worried, concerned and frustrated," said Curtis Jones, a displaced resident.

Many of the displaced residents said they haven't heard anything so far from building management in the three days since the fire.

"Where are we going to be? What time are we going to be there? What are we going to do with our furniture?" said Andre Jackson, a displaced resident.

More than 100 people who lived in the eight-story apartment building packed the Oliver Community Center on Wednesday for a face-to-face meeting with Mayor Catherine Pugh.

"I don't know the condition of the building. I just right now know the condition of the people," Pugh said. "I do know, that sitting in that gymnasium is at least 100 people."

City housing officials said the people who run the private development are responsible.

"There should be no reason why we need to resort to this kind of process. There should be something in place to move people quickly to make sure they are in a safe haven," said Reginald Scriber, with Baltimore City Housing.

City housing leaders laid out a plan to start transferring people to hotels on Wednesday and shut down the shelter by Thursday.

"Our hope is maybe Monday, at the latest, hopefully, we're trying to look for Saturday, but Monday at the latest, everybody will be out of Lanvale Towers," Scriber said. "Let's get them out of here first, and then talk about permanent housing in the next two to three weeks."

"Ain't nothing like your own place, you know?" Mitchell said.

WBAL-TV 11 News reached out to the property management repeatedly by phone and in person, but got no response. However, the management taped notices to the front of the condemned building, showing a schedule of how residents will be issued refunds for their security deposits and part of this month's rent.

The cause of the Harbor Inn hotel and restaurant in Runaway Bay fire last fall remains undetermined


The cause of the Harbor Inn fire last fall remains undetermined six months after the blaze.

In October 2016, a fire destroyed two of the three buildings that make up the Harbor Inn hotel and restaurant in Runaway Bay. The investigation was closed in January 2017, according to a report by State Fire Marshal Investigator Sgt. David Vesely, obtained by the Messenger through a public information request.

Although a cause was undetermined, the report states the fire “originated somewhere on the south side of the second floor of the north building.”

The Harbor Inn sits on the north side of U.S. 380 just west of the bridge that stretches over Lake Bridgeport. Vesely’s report states owner Elvin Jackson was at the property around 11:30 a.m. the day of the fire mowing and clearing trash. Jackson told Vesely and private fire investigator Mark Howell he did not remember if he was on the second floor the day of the fire because he had been coming every day to clean up the property. Jackson told the investigators he left about 3 p.m.

The initial 911 call was less than an hour later, and Vesely’s report lists Runaway Bay Volunteer Fire Department responding at 3:53 p.m. Six fire departments responded in mutual aid as crews made external attacks on the structure from multiple angles and used a ladder truck to douse flames from above. Runaway Bay Fire Chief Brian Bernardo said firefighters used several thousand gallons of water drafted partly from the lake to battle the blaze.

Jackson signed written consent for investigators to search the property after the fire.

During the investigation, a witness told Vesely he didn’t see anyone around the building at the time of the fire. Jackson also said he hadn’t seen anyone at the property in the days leading up to the fire. However, Vesely noted the complex’s south building had evidence of people were staying in the rooms at night, including fresh bread and unexpired boxed goods. Jackson also told Howell he “believed someone was at the property the day of the fire watching him and that unknown persons may have started the fire.”

When asked directly if he started the fire due to his current financial difficulties, Jackson denied involvement. The investigator noted he “did not observe any non-verbal cues that would indicate [Jackson] was being deceptive” during the interview.

Several parties mentioned in Vesely’s report remain unidentified. The fire’s first 911 caller, a local fisherman, said he met an unidentified younger male at the scene of the fire who told him he checked rooms on the first floor. The caller also told Vesely he saw two white females and one white male going into several of the rooms in the south building the day before the fire.

Vesely concluded accidental electrical issues did not cause the fire because no public utility service was connected to the building at the time. He was unable to eliminate the possibility it was started by a person, whether accidentally or intentionally.


Two of the three buildings that made up the Harbor Inn motel and restaurant in Runaway Bay were destroyed by a large fire around 4 Tuesday afternoon.

The complex is located on the north side of U.S. 380 immediately west of the Lake Bridgeport bridge.

According to the Runaway Bay Police Department, no one lives in the complex or was injured in the blaze. Wise County EMS stationed at the scene to provide heat rehab to emergency crews as needed.

Runaway Bay police officers on scene advised residents at The Lodge condominiums next door to pack their belongings in case an evacuation was necessary.

Runaway Bay, Lake Bridgeport, Bridgeport, Chico, Paradise, Boonesville and Salt Creek Fire Departments responded to the scene.

Cause of explosion that killed Shelby McGuire, 62, and her son Cory McGuire, 37, at the Apache Family Campground and Pier is still unknown

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — The cause of a fire and explosion that killed two people at a Myrtle Beach campground early Tuesday morning is still unknown, WSOC reports.

The fire was reported around midnight at the Apache Campground on Kings Road, just a few blocks from the pier.

The victims were identified as 62-year-old Shelby McGuire and her son, 37-year-old Cory McGuire. Another person was airlifted to a local hospital for treatment.

Myrtle Beach authorities said Thursday the investigation would take time and they are being careful throughout the process.

Melissa Dewett, who has been living at the campground since Easter, told WSOC the mother-son duo lived there year-round.

“I see the mother and son walking all the time. Up on the pier all the time. They go for their daily walk. They were the sweetest people,” Dewett said.

In total, four trailers were involved in the fire and two of them were destroyed.

Firefighters from Horry County, Myrtle Beach, and North Myrtle Beach had the blaze under control within the hour.


Cause of deadly Myrtle Beach campground fire still unknown

Updated: May 12, 2017 - 5:31 AM

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - Two days after an explosion and fire claimed the lives of a mother and her son at a Myrtle Beach campground, investigators were still working to figure out how it started.

The Horry County coroner identified the two people who died as Shelby McGuire, 62, and her son Cory McGuire, 37. Another person was injured.

Channel 9 checked with authorities Thursday, who said that the investigation would take some time and that they were being diligent in their investigation.

In a photo sent to Channel 9 by a viewer who is visiting Myrtle Beach, a giant fireball is seen coming from a trailer early Tuesday morning at the Apache Family Campground and Pier.

Melissa Dewett from Huntersville has been staying at the campground since Easter. She spoke to Channel 9 over the phone and said she heard the explosion.

"All of a sudden this loud explosion happened," Dewett said. "This massive flame. I was like, 'Oh my God.'"

Dewett called 911 as the intense flames spread to another camper.

Horry County Fire Rescue Chief Joey Tanner said four trailers caught fire and two of them were destroyed in the flames.

Dewett said the family lived at the campground year round.

"I see the mother and son walking all the time. Up on the pier all the time. They go for their daily walk. They were the sweetest people," Dewett said.

Firefighters from Horry County, Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach had the fire under control within an hour.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The deadly fire in Peoria's Glen Oak Towers that killed Scott Urbanc was likely started by a cigarette he was smoking and fell asleep

Scott Urbanc

PEORIA, Ill. - Peoria Fire Investigators believe the deadly fire in Peoria's Glen Oak Towers on April 16th was likely started by a cigarette.

42-year-old Scott Urbanc was in the 12th floor unit where the fire started. The Peoria County Coroner says Urbanc died as a result of smoke inhalation, despite having burns on over 80% of his body.

Urbanc's toxicology results show he was taking prescription medication that may have caused drowsiness, leading to him falling asleep on the couch, which caught fire.

The building does have sprinklers in the hallways, but at the time it was built, they weren't required in each unit.

Fire investigators say the structure of the building kept the fire contained and prevented a catastrophic situation.

"When I got the phone call that there was a fire in the towers, I admittedly will tell you that a little string of panic floated through my body of 'What are we going to do?', so I'm very gracious for the structure of the apartment, the door that saved so many lives, and the efforts of the Peoria Fire Department." Peoria County Coroner, Jamie Harwood, said.

The Peoria Fire Department says although it doesn't often see high-rise fires, it practices regularly for them."One of the things that I feel and I have a hard time with is that I don't think anyone should lose their life in a fire. You know, we've come a long way, we used to burn down cities, then, it got better...blocks, and now we're down to the room of origin with sprinkler systems and so there's a lot of lessons that we can learn." Chief of Fire Prevention, Phillip Maclin, said.

Arson detectives are investigating the cause of a fire after Tippy's Southern Kitchen went up in flames in Houston, TX

HOUSTON, TEXAS- Arson detectives are investigating the cause of a fire after Tippy's Southern Kitchen went up in flames Friday night, according to firefighters.

Firefighters responded to reports of the fire at 11:15 p.m. on North Shepherd Drive near Millville Drive.

According to officials, firefighters were able to quickly get the fire under control.

Firefighters believe the fire started in the attic of the building, but arson detectives will be able to confirm if that was the case.

Officials said no one was in the restaurant at the time of the fire.Firefighters said there was extensive damage and the health department was called to determine how they will manage the food left in the building.

Czirban Concrete Construction owner, Ian Czirban, pleaded not guilty to seven criminal counts folling the death of Robert Reagan, the bulldozer operator killed at the Soberanes Fire near Big Sur

The owner of a company that hired Robert Reagan, the bulldozer operator killed in the most expensive wildfire in U.S. history, pleaded not guilty to seven criminal counts in Monterey County Superior Court on Thursday.

Prosecutors have charged Ian Czirban with two counts of insurance fraud, two counts of filing a forged document, tax evasion, failure to collect taxes and failure to provide workers’ compensation insurance.

All but one of the charges are felonies.

During the court hearing Czirban agreed not to engage in contracting jobs as his criminal case moves forward, according to Monterey County Managing Deputy District Attorney Ed Hazel. Czirban currently owns Czirban Concrete Construction, an agency bulldozer contractor in the Madera County town of Coarsegold.

Czirban appeared with his attorney, Daniel Olmos, a Palo Alto-based lawyer specializing in financial fraud. Olmos declined to comment on the case.

Czirban is scheduled to return to court on June 28 to set his preliminary hearing.

The arraignment came two months after prosecutors charged Czirban, who recruited Reagan in the early days of the Soberanes Fire near Big Sur last July.

Reagan’s death prompted investigations by Cal Fire, state workplace regulators and the state agency that keeps tabs on California’s construction industry. The incident led to a wrongful death lawsuit against the state. And, it’s made life tough for the family Reagan left behind.

It also brought attention to vulnerabilities faced by hundreds of private contractors that help battle California’s wildfires year after year.


Cal Fire Probe Details Death of Dozer Driver in Big Sur Blaze

Robert Reagan, 35, of Fresno County, died July 26, 2016, when his bulldozer overturned while trying to access a proposed fire line near Big Sur. (Cal Fire)
By Ted Goldberg August 5, 2016
A preliminary report from Cal Fire investigators says that a bulldozer driver killed while working on the massive fire near Big Sur was ejected from his machine as it tipped over on a steep embankment, possibly because he wasn’t wearing a seat belt.

The Cal Fire “green sheet” says the operator — earlier identified as Robert Reagan, 35, of the Fresno County town of Friant — died nearly instantly after being pinned to the ground as the bulldozer turned over.

The report on the incident, which Cal Fire emphasizes is still under investigation, says Reagan may not have been wearing the bulldozer’s lap-style seat belt and that it’s likely the left door of the machine’s cab was open.

Reagan, who was working for Madera County-based Czirban Concrete Construction, a Cal Fire contractor, had been assigned to bulldoze a fire line on the northwestern edge of the Soberanes Fire. The area where Reagan was working is characterized by steep ridges, deep canyons and is accessible only by a network of narrow dirt roads.

After being briefed by another dozer operator and conferring with firefighters, he began maneuvering his machine toward the proposed line shortly before 11 p.m. on July 26.

Reagan’s path was blocked by a fire engine parked on a dirt road, so he guided his dozer onto a roadway that ran parallel to and above the first one. His new path required him to drive down a steep embankment to get back to the lower road and reach his assignment. Although he had identified a spot he felt would be safe, the report said, he instead steered his machine onto the lip of an 81 percent slope and started down.

A firefighter stationed at the engine on the lower road told investigators he saw Reagan’s dozer slide down the slope. The bulldozer’s blade struck the edge of the embankment, he said, causing the machine to roll onto its left side. The dozer eventually came into contact with the fire engine’s rear bumper.

Reagan “was ejected from the cab and was pinned beneath the left sweep,” the report states. Sweeps are sets of heavy bars meant to protect the operator’s cab.

A paramedic who was nearby at the time pronounced Reagan dead.

The preliminary report on Reagan’s death is not final. Cal Fire emphasizes that it was published in a short time frame and is subject to changes stemming from further investigation.

Cal Fire has pulled Reagan’s employer from its rotation of as-needed contractors after learning that it may not have been providing workers’ compensation insurance to its workers.

His death is believed to be the first of a bulldozer operator working a wildfire in California in nearly nine years. That last fatality, on Oct. 8, 2007, occurred within a mile or so of Reagan’s accident.

Matthew Will, a Cal Fire heavy fire equipment operator, died of a head injury suffered when his bulldozer slipped off the side of a hill and rolled over at least twice. That incident, during a blaze dubbed the Colorado Fire, led to a lawsuit against the bulldozer manufacturer, Caterpillar Inc. Will’s family alleged the vehicle was defectively and negligently designed. A jury awarded the plaintiffs $6.7 million in damages.

Reagan’s employer, Czirban Concrete Construction, is one of hundreds of firms Cal Fire contracts with to provide bulldozers, water tenders and other equipment and services the agency needs each year.

The Contractors State License Board, which has suspended Czirban’s license eight times in the last four years, launched a new investigation into the company this week after learning of Reagan’s apparent employment there.

The firm has told the board that it had no employees and therefore did not need to provide worker’s compensation, an agency spokesman said.

Cal Fire’s contract with Czirban includes an insurance policy with the State Compensation Insurance Fund that expired in January 2015.

Cal Fire says it relies on its vendors to make sure their paperwork is up to date. If the agency learns that one of its as-needed contractors is not providing workers’ comp, it can cancel its contract, an agency official said.

“The obligation remains with the contractor to comply with these requirements,” Cal Fire spokeswoman Janet Upton said in an email. “We are currently investigating, and in the meantime, this vendor has been pulled from our rotation.”


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.


Robert Reagan killed while battling Soberanes Fire

  Ian Czirban and his wife

Megan Czirban

By Mark Evan Smith

Robert Oliver Reagan III, a Friant resident and graduate of Yosemite High School, was identified Thursday as the bulldozer operator who died July 26 while fighting the Soberanes Fire in Big Sur.

Area news station KSBW reported Reagan, 35, was in his bulldozer when it rolled over, causing fatal injuries while he battled the growing 25,000-acre fire in Monterey County as an independent contractor and Cal Fire partner.

“(Firefighting) is an inherently dangerous job with great risk involved,” said Todd Derum, Cal Fire incident commander. “Please keep your heartfelt thoughts and prayers with the family.”

Daniel Reagan described his brother as a caring man who died doing what he believed in.

“He was a very industrious person who loved to be out and actively helping people,” Daniel said. “He would do anything he could to meet the needs of somebody else. He died doing something he was good at, and doing something he believed was helpful for others in need.”

A GoFundMe page was set up by Reagan’s family to raise money for his wife and two daughters. More than $25,000 was raised by Thursday evening.

On social media, dozens of people offered their prayers and words of support.

“Condolences to his family, friends, and firefighters on the loss of this brave man,” Diana Welling said. “Thank you for being a firefighter. Godspeed sir.”

“It’s always so sad to hear about the loss of another classmate,” added Brianna Templeton. “Prayers for his family.”

Daniel thanked the community for its support, and for respecting the privacy of the family as they take time to mourn their loss.

Reagan was a race car driver who finished third in the 2014 Enduro division at the LoanMart Madera Speedway before he moved into dirt-track racing.

Kenny Shepherd, the Speedway’s owner and promoter, said Reagan was intensely competitive while on the track. But once a race was finished, that fierce attitude turned into one of laughter and love.

“He’d be very competitive, but he raced for the right reasons,” Shepherd said. “He was well liked by his friends, he always gave out big smiles, but he was serious as can be behind the wheel. He was a winner on the track, and a great family man off of it.”

Shepherd said calls have been “pouring in” from fellow racers who are planning fundraisers, at the Speedway and elsewhere, to honor Reagan and support his family.

Big Ox Energy has received $51,000 in new citations from OSHA following worker injuries at its South Sioux City renewable energy plant.


Big Ox Energy has received two more citations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration following investigations into reports of worker injuries at its South Sioux City renewable energy plant.

The citations, which detail nine "serious" violations and total more than $50,703 in penalties, were issued on Friday as a result of two inspections, begun Dec. 16 and Jan. 9, following two separate employer-reported incidents of worker injury.

The new citations come 3 1/2 weeks after OSHA cited the renewable energy plant with six other violations totaling an additional $50,704 in fines.

According to the citation documents issued Friday, around 6:45 p.m. on Dec. 14, employees who were not wearing breathing apparatuses or respirators were exposed to high levels of toxic gases, including hydrogen sulfide and methane, after opening a hole in the side of an anaerobic digester to install a pipe. One employee required CPR to be revived, the citation states.

Then, on Jan. 8, two employees wearing inadequate personal protective equipment suffered face, arm and body burns when exposed to a "violent chemical reaction" pouring two chemicals down a floor drain.

In relation to those incidents, Big Ox Energy has been cited for the following violations:

--Failing to select and provide appropriate respirators to the employees.

--Not identifying and evaluating the respiratory hazards in the workplace, including a "reasonable estimate" of employee exposures to the hazards.

--Not maintaining records measuring the amount of hazardous chemicals employees were exposed to.

--Failing to ensure affected employees were using selected adequate protective equipment when necessary around "reactive, corrosive chemicals." This citation item includes three sub-categories.

--Failing to ensure each authorized employee affixed his or her own lock or tag to certain devices prior to working on the equipment.

--Failing to ensure employees exposed to "corrosive oxidizers and exothermic catalitic reactions" were properly trained and understood the physical and health effects of such chemicals.

--Failing to ensure employees exposed to the reactions were trained about the proper protective equipment to wear when using the chemicals.

Kevin Bradley, Big Ox Energy's director of business and economic development, told the Journal Friday afternoon the company knew the additional citations were coming and plans to discuss all the violations with OSHA next week.

"Hopefully we can have all of that behind us very soon," he said.

An OSHA representative said Big Ox Energy has scheduled to meet with the Region 7 office Monday for an informal conference to discuss its 15 violations. Most OSHA cases are settled at an informal conference.

Bradley said all employees who were part of the incidents referred to in the newly-released citations have made full recoveries and remain employed at the facility.

As OSHA investigators have been probing operations at the plant, many residents also have blamed the facility for the hydrogen sulfide gas that penetrated their homes through the sewer line they shared at the time with the Roth Industrial Park, displacing as many as two dozen families at the odors' height last fall.

Big Ox Energy in January denied culpability for the sewer gases, saying other industries have also affected the hydrogen sulfide levels in the sewer lines and that individual plumbing deficiencies in many of the affected homes played a major role. South Sioux City's administration has largely agreed with Big Ox Energy's assessment.

Residents on Tuesday filed more than $35 million in odor-related tort claims against the city, and signaled legal action is forthcoming against Big Ox Energy.

Summit Contracting Group, owned by Marc and Nicole Padgett, the contractor overseeing site of deadly Jacksonville accident has been hit with OSHA violations before

Jacksonville police said two construction workers were loading supplies into a third-story window from a wooden crate hoisted by this lift Thursday afternoon when the crate fell, pulling the workers down with it. It’s not clear if they were wearing harnesses. (Garrett Pelican/Florida Times-Union)

Marc and Nicole Padgett, Summit’s owners

One worker died and another was critically injured Thursday after a three-story fall at a construction site near Myrtle Avenue and West 16th Street, authorities said.

The accident occurred about 11:50 a.m. at the Mary Eaves apartment complex under construction in the 1200 block of West 16th Street. 

The project is constructed by The Vestcor Companies, Inc. along with their partners, Summit Contracting Group, the general contractor on the 16th Street construction project.

The men were working out of a wooden crate perched atop a hydraulic lift, loading doors into a third-story window, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

The pair fell when the crate they were using as a platform tipped over and came crashing to the ground, said Sgt. David Smith. It’s unclear if the workers were strapped into harnesses.

“It came loose from the lift and fell to the ground, taking them with it,” Smith said.

Paramedics pronounced one worker dead at the scene, Smith said. Another was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

The names of the victims were not immediately released because families have not yet been notified. Smith described them as being in their 40s and 30s.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident. Bud Underwood, assistant area director for OSHA, said two compliance officers were onsite for hours documenting what took place.

“They’re doing interviews and gathering folks up, trying to figure out what the hell went wrong,” Underwood said.

The fall comes the same week as OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction. The initiative is marked by voluntary events for employers to educate and have dialogue with employees about workplace hazards, prevention methods and safety policies.

Workplace falls are a leading cause of death for construction employees, making up 350 of the 937 construction fatalities nationwide in 2015, according to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Florida has the second-highest fatality rate in the country for workplace accidents.

“This young man didn’t deserve what happened today,” Underwood said. “We need to do better.”

The Northeast Florida Safety Council, a nonprofit that offers occupational safety classes free of charge, had an open demonstration of fall protection devices and practices Thursday morning. Organizers said the turnout was underwhelming.

Roughly a dozen people took part. No one from Summit Contracting Group, the general contractor on the 16th Street construction project, was in attendance, according to the safety council.

“You’d think people would be lined up to attend, especially because it’s free,” said Bruce Press, the nonprofit’s member services representative.

Based on news coverage of the incident he had seen, Press expressed outrage at the death that he called “absolutely preventable.”

“There’s nothing about what they did that was remotely acceptable or correct,” he said. “If they had just used the right equipment, the right safety practices, this would not have happened.”

Marc and Nicole Padgett, Summit’s owners, offered condolences to the men’s loved ones when reached by phone but said none of the firm’s employees were involved. They said the men were hired by a subcontractor but did not say which one.

“Our hearts go out to the families,” Nicole Padgett said. 

Mary Eaves Apartments in Jacksonville, FL is a senior living community that will consist of 80 units in 1 building and will be 81,867 square feet.

The partners include Summit Contracting Group, Inc., Vestcor, PQH Group Design Inc., and several Subcontractors.


Summit Contracting Group, the contractor overseeing site of deadly Jacksonville accident has been hit with OSHA violations before

by: Lorena Inclan, Action News Jax Updated: May 12, 2017 - 10:31 PM

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A man believed to be in his 40s is dead after a workplace accident at a construction site in Durkeeville on West 16th Street.

A 30-year-old man was also injured after falling on his back at the same site Thursday.

Charlie McCloud, who lives next door to the construction zone, said he was sitting on his porch when it happened.

“It was all quiet, next thing you know you hear -- I won't say a loud boom -- more like a popping sound,” McCloud said.

This police report shows one worker died at the scene and the other was transported to UF Health.

“I knew it was coming from this direction. Then I went to the store like an hour later, they had it all roped off and stuff,” McCloud said.

Sky Action News Jax captured exclusive aerial video of JSO at the construction site which is the future Mary Eaves Apartments location.

The employees involved in the accident were working for M & R Construction, who is a subcontractor to Building Materials and Construction Services.

According to the police report, the company overseeing the project, Summit Contracting Group, has been cited by OSHA in the past.

It’s most recent citation is from February of last year which found employees were exposed to fall hazards.

OSHA is now investigating Thursday afternoon’s incident.

Action News Jax tried calling M & R Construction but no one answered. A short time later, someone called reporter Lorena Inclan back and as soon as she introduced herself, the caller hung up.

Summit Contracting Group’s Chief Administrative Officer, Nicole Padgett, sent Action News Jax the following statement:

“Summit Contracting Group, Inc. sends its deepest condolences to the family that lost a loved one in the tragic accident yesterday, and our thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery to the worker who was injured. The two workers were employed by M&R Construction, LLC, who is a subcontractor to Building Materials and Construction Services.

"OSHA is currently investigating the accident and Summit is providing OSHA with all requested information necessary for OSHA to complete its investigation. Summit has no further comment on this active OSHA investigation other than to reiterate our commitment to job site safety, including our commitment to fully cooperate with the OSHA investigation.”