Saturday, June 24, 2017

DO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE: Synthia Higuera, 19, of Kerman, told officers she had received a text from her cousin that diverted her attention and caused her to drive her Jeep Wrangler Unlimited into oncoming traffic, where she struck a large Chevy Silverado pickup driven by a 30-year-old Biola man, killing him.


A head-on fatal crash on Friday was caused by a distracted driver northwest of Fresno, the California Highway Patrol reports.

The collision occurred about 2 p.m. near Shaw and Jameson avenues, east of Biola.

Synthia Higuera, 19, of Kerman, told officers she had received a text from her cousin that diverted her attention and caused her to drive her Jeep Wrangler Unlimited into oncoming traffic, where she struck a large pickup driven by a 30-year-old Biola man, said CHP Officer Vic Taylor. He was not immediately identified.

Higuera told investigators that she was driving about 70 mph and was late for work when she got the text. As she read the text, she told officers that she was quickly approaching the rear of a slower-moving vehicle and swerved to avoid a rear-end crash, the CHP report said.

Instead, she drove into the westbound lanes where she struck the pickup head-on, according to a CHP report.

The man was pinned inside the pickup, suffered major injuries and later died, Taylor said. Higuera had minor injuries, according to CHP reports.

The woman will be booked on a count of gross vehicular manslaughter, Taylor said.

A helicopter for airlift to Community Regional Medical Center was initially called to the scene, requiring an extended road closure between Jameson and Dower avenues. The road remained closed at about 4 p.m.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- CHP officers say distracted driving is to blame for a fatal accident near Biola.

Police say 19-year-old Synthia Higuera was driving down Shaw Avenue Friday when she crashed into a Chevy Silverado.

Higuera told officers she was running late for work and had received a text from her cousin. The distraction caused her to drift into another lane, killing the driver of the other car.

Higuera was taken to CRMC with minor injuries.

ANOTHER UNDERRIDING FATALITY: Reckless driver Steven Narvaez, 28, of Woodside killed, passenger injured after his 2013 Toyota Corolla sedan blew a red light and collided with a 2007 Freightliner municipal waste truck at the intersection of Skillman Avenue and Queens Boulevard

Saturday, June 24, 2017 04:01PM

A man was killed in Long Island City Saturday morning in a collision with a truck.

Around 6 a.m., police responded to the intersection of Skillman Avenue and Queens Boulevard.

According to the New York City Police Department, a 28-year-old man, identified as Steven Narvaez, of Woodside, was found unconscious with severe body trauma. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

His 17-year-old female passenger also was injured. She was taken to Elmhurst General Hospital, where she is critical.

A 2013 Toyota Corolla sedan, was traveling west on Skillman Avenue, approaching Queens Boulevard. It ran into a 2007 Freightliner tractor that was traveling northbound on Queens Boulevard, heading toward Skillman Avenue.

The sedan hit the truck, then came to a rest underneath it.

The truck operator remained on the scene and was uninjured.

There have been no arrests and the investigation is ongoing. Investigators believe Steven Narvaez blew a red light at the intersection before colliding with the tractor trailer, the NYPD said.

Underridding deaths are very common.  So many people have been killed because the cars lodge underneath the trucks that have no barriers to prevent the underridding.  This 2007 Freightliner did not have the mandated side guards.


A Queens driver was killed and his girlfriend critically injured after he blew through a red light early Saturday — and T-boned an oncoming tractor-trailer, cops said.

The 2013 Toyota Corolla sedan plowed into the 18-wheel municipal waste truck at the intersection of Queens Blvd. and Skillman Ave. just before 6 a.m.

Reckless driver Steven Narvaez, 28, of Woodside, was pronounced dead at the scene after his white car became wedged beneath the truck that was traveling with the right of way. The Toyota was shredded in the fatal wreck.

By the time EMS arrived, Narvaez — whose body remained in the driver’s seat — was already gone, police said.

The incident occurred after this white sedan ran a red light at the Queens Blvd. intersection in Long Island City early Saturday. (Theodore Parisienne/for New York Daily News)

The passenger, a 17-year-old woman, was rushed to Elmhurst General Hospital in critical condition. Cops responded to the scene of the fatal crash after receiving a 911 call.

Distraught relatives of Narvaez said he and the young woman started dating in April. The teen was breathing on her own but remained in critical condition, according to the relatives.

Some two dozen friends and family members gathered outside Narvaez’s Queens apartment in an impromptu memorial service. The dead man’s brokenhearted mother wept as she spoke of her loss.

An unidentified passenger (l.) was injured in a car crash that killed the driver, Steven Narvaez.

“My only son, my dear boy,” said Lilliana Medina, 63, through sobs. “Why God? He was such a good boy. He was too young! I want my son back! Why him?”

Medina said she and her son were planning a July trip to visit family in Colombia.

Narvaez, a maintenance worker at LaGuardia Airport, recently cut back his hours to take care of his mom. She was still recovering from recent back surgery.
Lilliana Medina (l.), mother of Narvaez, who was killed in the crash, is inconsolable as a friend attempts to comfort her. (Jeff Bachner/for New York Daily News)

His cousin Chris Piedrahita said he considered the younger Narvaez like a kid brother over the years.

“We shared clothes, sneakers,” he recalled. “We slept on the same bed, we played video games, we grew up together. This ain’t right.” The truck driver stayed at the scene in Long Island City, and was not charged with any crime in the fatal wreck. Cops said the investigation of the crash was continuing.

Hundreds of people die needlessly in underride crashes every year. According to an analysis of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, truck underride crashes caused 228 deaths in 2014 — the latest year for which the agency has information. More than 2,200 people died in such crashes in the 10-year period through 2014. Because of gaps in federal data, it's likely that the truck underride crash death toll is much larger.

The rear underride guard met the current federal underride standard. But in 2011 and again just a few months before the crash in 2013, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested the underride guards of eight major trailer manufacturers. In 2011, none of the eight were able to stop underride on the outer edges of the truck even though they met the federal standard. By 2013, only one company had improved its guard to more adequately protect the occupants of passenger cars in such a crash.

U.S. safety regulators have debated for years on how to prevent the tragedy of underride fatalities — including the possibility of using side guards on trucks — since 1969. Many of these deaths could have been prevented had better underride protection been mandated. So why is NHTSA, which acknowledges the problem and whose own data demonstrate that underride kills thousands of Americans, taking so long to solve this problem?
The solution is technologically possible, and we petitioned NHTSA in May 2014 to initiate underride rulemaking:
  • In July 2014, NHTSA began rulemaking to improve rear underride on tractor-trailers. Its proposed rule in December 2015 was too weak and ineffective. We organized an Underride Roundtable at IIHS on May 5, 2016. At that event, IIHS crash tested an improved guard. Now there are four manufacturers making guards that prevent deadly underride situations across the full lengths of the underguard — proving that it is possible to save lives. Following that gathering of almost 100 people, a consensus recommendation for a more stringent rule was submitted to NHTSA on last week.
  • In July 2015, NHTSA responded to our petition to require underride guards on currently exempt Single Unit Trucks (SUTs), such as dump trucks, garbage haulers, concrete mixers, tank trucks, trash trucks and local delivery trucks. NHTSA took the first step to discuss underride protection for these trucks because research has shown that there are many deaths due to smaller vehicles colliding with the rear ends of SUTs. This needs to move forward to a final rule.
  • Our 2014 petition also called for federal standards to be issued for side guards (as well as front override). NHTSA indicated that it would consider this at a later date. Nothing has been done thus far. There is no federal mandate to put underride guards on the sides of trucks.
Yet for years, engineers have been developing solutions to the problem of deadly side underride.

In fact, some cities are out in front of federal regulators. They don't want their citizens dying from a preventable cause. New York and Boston are installing side guards on city-owned trucks, such as garbage trucks. They also are requiring companies that contract with the cities to install side guards to protect pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcycle riders.

the June 14 inferno at Grenfell Tower was touched off by a refrigerator fire; in addition, exterior cladding attached to the 24-story public housing project during a recent renovation failed safety tests conducted by investigators

Police Confirm Cause of Grenfell Tower Fire That Killed 79 People
Danica Kirka / AP
Jun 23, 2017

(LONDON) — Police are considering filing manslaughter charges related to the fire at a west London apartment tower that killed at least 79 people.

In its most detailed briefing on the criminal investigation, the Metropolitan Police on Friday confirmed residents' suspicions that the June 14 inferno at Grenfell Tower was touched off by a refrigerator fire. The department also said exterior cladding attached to the 24-story public housing project during a recent renovation failed safety tests conducted by investigators, and that police have seized documents from a number of organizations.

"We are looking at every criminal offense from manslaughter onwards," Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack told reporters. "We are looking at all health and safety and fire safety offenses, and we are reviewing every company at the moment involved in the building and refurbishment of Grenfell Tower."

The government has ordered an immediate examination of the refrigerator model that started the blaze. McCormack said the Hotpoint model FF175BP refrigerator-freezer had not been subject to any product recalls before the fire.

Hotpoint said Friday that "words cannot express our sorrow at this terrible tragedy" and added it was working with authorities to examine the appliance.

The overnight fire rapidly engulfed Grenfell Tower, with flames shooting up the outside of the building, raising concerns that the cladding material attached to the concrete block didn't comply with fire-safety rules.

Police are looking at all parts of the cladding system and its installation, McCormack said.

"Preliminary tests show the insulation samples collected from Grenfell Tower combusted soon after the test started," she said. "The initial tests on equivalent aluminum composite tiles failed the safety tests."

The investigation comes as authorities acknowledge the risks posed by exterior cladding to thousands of people around the country who live in blocks like Grenfell Tower.

The government has called on all building owners, public and private, to submit samples of cladding material used on their buildings for testing. Samples from 11 buildings in London, Manchester and Plymouth have already been found to be combustible.

Fears about cladding are not limited to apartment buildings — at least one hotel chain is calling in experts to make certain it meets safety regulations. Premier Inn said Friday it had "concerns" about the material used on some of its buildings, though it is different from the type used at Grenfell Tower.

McCormack also repeated calls for anyone with information about the fire and all those in the tower at the time to come forward as police continue to comb through the devastated building to try to find and identify all the victims.

Police said earlier this week that 79 people were either dead or missing and presumed to be dead, though that number may change.

To make sure everyone comes forward, London Mayor Sadiq Khan pledged to seek an amnesty for people who may have been living in the public housing block illegally. Prime Minister Theresa May also said the government won't penalize any fire survivors who were in the country illegally."We want to identify all those who died as result of the fire at Grenfell Tower, and that is where I need the public's help," McCormack said. "I do not want there to be any hidden victims of this tragedy."

SPEED KILLS: 14-year old Brett Michael Cunningham was crushed to death by a speeding ATV, driven by a 16-year old, that overturned north of Liberal, Kansas

LIBERAL, Kan. (KSNW) — The town of Liberal is in shock tonight after one of their own died in a tragic accident Wednesday night.

Brett Michael Cunningham was killed when the ATV he was riding on crashed. He was 14 years old.

“I was in shock,” said Joe Denoyer, the mayor of Liberal. “It’s a tragedy any time a child loses their lives.”

The Eisenhower Middle School student was riding an ATV driven by a 16-year-old when they crashed on a county road. The driver was not injured.

“Knowing those two boys,” said Denoyer, “knowing that they were related, they were cousins, just two boys, young teenagers out having a fun time in the summer turned tragic. I was shocked.”

Brett’s mother is a teacher at Garfield Elementary.

“The families are very involved in the community and in the school district, so everybody knew these kids, and it’s just a tragedy,” added Denoyer.

Word of Brett’s death is still spreading, but the mayor is confident he’ll see an outpouring of support from the community and ways to help the family.

“I haven’t heard of any way yet,” said Denoyer, “but knowing this community like I do, there will be several opportunities in the days to come.”

For now, the mayor wants the family to know they’re not alone.

“It’s going to take a long time to get through this,” he said, “but know that they have the support of the community, the support of the school district, and we’ll be there for them in any way that we can.”

Eisenhower Middle School will have grief counselors at the school on Friday from 10 a.m. to noon, helping students, parents, and friends cope with the loss.

Cunningham had just finished 8th grade and was going into high school next year.


LIBERAL, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a 14-year-old boy has died in an all-terrain vehicle crash in southwest Kansas.

The Kansas Highway Patrol says the ATV's 16-year-old driver was speeding Wednesday night when the vehicle started to fish tail on a road about nine miles north of Liberal. The ATV then toppled onto the passenger side, killing Brett Cunningham, of Liberal.

The driver wasn't hurt.

YET ANOTHER PFOA (FIREFIGHTING FOAM CHEMICALS) CONTAMINATION LAWSUIT: Green et al v. The 3M Company et al, 17-02566, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Central Islip). Hamptons homeowners say has been poisoned by polluted drinking water

A group of Long Island homeowners recently filed a lawsuit against 3M over allegations that its firefighting foam led to contamination of the nearby groundwater supply.

The plaintiffs, which reportedly include 15 residents of Westhampton and Quiogue, N.Y., argued that the foam long used on the tarmac of Francis J. Gabreski Airport contained the chemicals PFOS and PFOA.

The airport, which serves those middle-class neighborhoods as well as the affluent communities of the Hamptons, was classified as a Superfund site by New York state officials last year.

Bloomberg reports that the filing was the 10th such lawsuit filed over the foam — known as aqueous film-forming foam — since 2015.

PFOS remains in use today as a fire retardant component of many household products, while PFOA and related chemicals are used to make non-stick coatings. Both chemicals, however, are linked to cancer and other health problems.

Officials from Suffolk County, which was also named in the suit, told the publication that the contamination was confined to a small area, but attorneys for the plaintiffs said that they expected more than 250 people to eventually join the class-action lawsuit.

3M, which voluntarily began phasing out PFOS in 2002, disputed common perceptions about the chemical and said the company instructed its customers to properly use and dispose of firefighting foam.

“AFFF is a product that was used by the U.S. military and departments of defense around the world because it saves lives — which likely explains why this product remains in use approximately a decade after 3M exited the sales of it,” William A. Brewer III, an attorney for the Minnesota conglomerate, told Bloomberg. 


Hamptons Tainted Water Lawsuit Adds to Slew of 3M Complaints

  • Chemical firefighting foam bled into groundwater, lawsuit says
  • Plaintiffs multiply across country as research reveals toxins
A stone’s throw from the white sand beaches and posh mansions of one of America’s wealthiest ZIP codes sits a community that homeowners say has been poisoned by polluted drinking water.
Fifteen people in a middle-income neighborhood near an airport in Southampton, New York -- seaside playground of the rich and famous -- are suing 3M Co. and other makers of a chemical called PFOS that went into a foam used to fight fires on the tarmac. The plaintiffs say they’ve ingested PFOS as well as PFOA, which results when PFOS and other agents in the foam degrade. The airport was designated a Superfund site in September.
The Denver Fire Department tests a ’new’ fire-fighting foam at an airport in Oct. 1972.
Photographer: Ira Gay Sealy/The Denver Post via Getty Images
It’s one of 10 lawsuits filed since 2015 that concern aqueous film-forming foam, or AFFF, according to a Bloomberg survey. 3M, which announced 17 years ago it would voluntarily phase out PFOS before many of its competitors, said public information about the chemical has been “misleading.’’  
“In this day and age, in the richest country on earth, Americans can’t go into their kitchens, turn on their taps and be assured there’s no potential health harm to it,” said Bill Walker, a Berkeley, California-based vice president at Environmental Working Group.

Consistent Signals

DuPont and its spinoff, Chemours Co., recently settled 3,500 suits over PFOA in drinking water around its plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia.
The lawsuits seek to build on a 2012 report that linked PFOA to six diseases, including certain types of cancer. In May 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which doesn’t regulate the chemicals, lowered the level of exposure it advised. It cited studies linking PFOS and PFOA with low birth weight, accelerated puberty, cancer and immune and thyroid disorders.
Evidence about cancer risks is mounting, with data on testicular and kidney cancer being the most consistent, Richard Clapp, an adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, told a conference Wednesday in Boston. Other conference speakers said they were frustrated that so many of the possible chemicals meant to replace them haven’t been studied enough before they were put to use.

Teflon, Scotchgard

DuPont used PFOA to make Teflon coating for cooking pans. In addition to firefighting foam, PFOS was in 3M’s Scotchgard, which, since its reformulation, is still used to protect carpets and furniture from stains. Chemical cousins have also been found in fast-food wrappers.
Fifteen million Americans drink water with elevated levels of PFOS and PFOA, according to a study released last week by Northeastern University and the Environmental Working Group. Most of them live near 47 military or industrial sites, the study said. Water systems have also filed suits against 3M, DuPont and other manufacturers.
“Scientific literature is booming, consumer awareness is expanding,” said Phil Brown, referring to the general chemical class known as perfluorochemicals, which includes PFOS and PFOA. The Northeastern University professor runs the school’s Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute, which hosted Wednesday’s conference.

Saves Lives

3M says a lot of information about the chemicals is “simply incorrect.”
“AFFF is a product that was used by the U.S. military and departments of defense around the world because it saves lives -– which likely explains why this product remains in use approximately a decade after 3M exited the sales of it,” William A. Brewer III, partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors, and a lawyer for 3M, said in an email.
3M said a lawsuit brought over AFFF by the States of Guernsey, in the English Channel, was resolved in its favor when the suit was dismissed last year.
Most Americans have measurable perflourochemicals in their blood, according to the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Currently, there’s “no established blood level at which a health effect is known nor is there a level that is clearly associated with past or future health problems,” the agency says.
The Denver Fire Department tests a ’new’ fire-fighting foam at an airport in Oct. 1972.
Photographer: Ira Gay Sealy/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Jerome Liggon, a plaintiff in the Hamptons suit, recalled summer days five decades ago when he and his young pals biked to Francis J. Gabreski Airport to watch drills where firefighters set fire to a runway, then shot an arc of white foam on the tarmac to extinguish the flames in an instant.

Summer Weekends

Liggon and his fellow plaintiffs live in a less affluent section of the Hamptons. Among the communities affected, according to the lawsuit, are Westhampton and Quiogue, near Gabreski Airport, where they say the firefighting foam seeped into the groundwater. PFOS has been detected in the area at a frequency more than 200 times an advised level in groundwater, the lawsuit said.
Liggon and his wife Elizabeth built a home just blocks away from where he grew up watching the firefighting drills, which his suit says went on for decades. Over time, they suspected something wasn’t right, they said.
“I noticed the amount of cancer deaths and it just didn’t make sense to me,’’ said Liggon, 58. He said he has growths on his thyroid that he and his doctor monitor. Elizabeth Liggon, a 47-year-old marathon runner, said she has high blood pressure and kidney cysts.

Class Action

The Liggons’ attorney, Hunter Shkolnik, said he expected more than 250 plaintiffs to eventually sign on to the Hamptons lawsuit and hopes it will become a class action. Shkolnik said he also represents clients in Colorado, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania and anticipates filing more suits in other U.S. locations.
Lawsuits over AFFF across the U.S. name 3M, Tyco Fire Products LP, Angus Fire, National Foam, Buckeye Fire Protection Co. and Chemguard. Lawyers for those companies declined to comment or didn’t return requests.
The Liggons are also suing Suffolk County, New York. The county has filters to screen the pollutants, said Tim Hopkins, general counsel for the water authority. The problem is limited to a small area, he said.
The suits allege 3M and others knew, or should have known, of the harm, citing internal reviews of personnel safety that began in the mid-1980s, and didn’t warn purchasers.
“We think it is important to note that 3M sold its AFFF products with instructions regarding their safe use and disposal,” Brewer said in his statement.

Legal Claims

Lawsuits against 3M related to PFOS date to at least 2002. Regulatory filings of the St. Paul, Minnesota-based company show PFOS has spurred legal claims over both its intended uses, like in AFFF and carpets, and the places where it’s accidentally ended up, such as biosolids from sewage-treatment plants spread on farmland. 3M recorded $38 million for estimated environmental remediation costs and $29 million for “other environmental liabilities,” according to its most recent annual filing.
In addition to the lawsuit over its West Virginia facility, DuPont and Chemours face a suit over its factory on the Delaware River, where residents of Carneys Point Township, New Jersey, seek $1 billion to clean up a mess they say dwarfs the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Dozens of suits were also filed last year against Cie de Saint-Gobain, a 350-year-old, Paris-based manufacturer that used the chemicals to make plastics at a plant in Hoosick Falls, New York.
The Hamptons case is Green et al v. The 3M Company et al, 17-02566, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Central Islip).



LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Authorities have identified three Louisville residents who died in a head-on collision Friday with a tractor-trailer rig in Sandusky County, Ohio.

The crash occurred about 7:45 a.m. on U.S. 6 when a driver attempted to pass traffic near County Road 32, according to the Fremont post of the Ohio Highway Patrol.

The three who died have been identified as 21-year-old Matthew Bramel, the driver, 19-year-old Shelby Johnson, a front-seat passenger, and 25-year-old Cody Nelson, the back seat passenger. All three of them were from Louisville. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

A fourth passenger, a 21-year-old woman from New Albany, Ind., was treated at Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center. Her condition was not immediately released.

A truck driver from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, tried to avoid the crash and was not injured, troopers said.

Ohio State Police say speed played a role in the crash.

"Speed was a factor because he was going out to pass traffic on US 6," said Lt. Matthew Meredith of Ohio State Highway Patrol. "It's a two lane state route -- U.S. road -- very flat, level, not a lot of view obstruction. Why he thought he needed to go out and pass and left the center with a semi-truck coming the other direction…that's how speed is a factor. I'm going to guess he was over the speed limit, but we do not have an exact speed of it right now."

Young people speeding, trying to save few minutes in traffic time and they end up reaching their final destination at a very early time.

Lisa Y. Coleman, 29, of Penns Grove died in the two-vehicle accident in Salem County when she crossed over into the southbound lane and struck a black Ford Explorer driven by Tracy A. Leps, 47, of Deepwater

Woman, 29, killed in head-on crash after drifting into oncoming traffic, police say

Updated on June 23, 2017 at 3:32 PM Posted on June 23, 2017 at 3:24 PM

By Bill Gallo Jr.


PENNSVILLE TWP. -- Authorities have identified the woman killed in a head-on crash Thursday night in Salem County.

Lisa Y. Coleman, 29, of Penns Grove died in the two-vehicle accident on North Hook Road near Lee Avenue, according to Pennsville Chief of Police Allen J. Cummings.

Coleman was driving a white Chrysler 2000 northbound on North Hook Road around 8:55 p.m. when, for an unknown reason, crossed over into the southbound lane and struck a black Ford Explorer, Cummings said Friday.

After hitting the Explorer, Coleman's Chrysler spun off the road and struck the concrete base of a sign on the closed Sidelines Bar property.

She was the lone occupant of the vehicle.

Coleman, who was trapped in the car, was pronounced dead at the scene at 9:18 p.m., according to the chief.

The Explorer was driven by Tracy A. Leps, 47, of Deepwater. In the vehicle with her were two passengers, Elizabeth Murray, 58, of Carneys Point and a 1-year-old boy.

Leps and Murray were not injured, Cummings said. The boy was taken to The Memorial Hospital of Salem County in Mannington Township as a precaution to be checked out.

The chief said Leps said she tried to avoid the Chrysler which had crossed into her lane.

The Pennsville Police Department is being assisted in the crash investigation by the New Jersey State Police and the Salem County Prosecutor's Office.

Cummings said what caused Coleman to drift into the oncoming lane of traffic remains under investigation. Typically, the drifters either are drunk or are texting or they are on drugs.


PENNSVILLE TWP., NJ -- One woman was killed in a head-on crash Thursday night, police said.

According to Pennsville Police Lt. Kirk Cooksey, the accident took place on North Hook Road near Lee Avenue around 9 p.m. and involved two vehicles.

When the vehicles collided, one remained in the roadway and the other veered off North Hook Road and struck the base of a sign in front of a business.

The lone occupant of that vehicle, a woman, was pronounced dead at the scene, Cooksey said.

In the other vehicle were two adults and a child. The child was taken to an area hospital for evaluation, but the two adults were not injured, Cooksey said.

Salem County Fire Police were requested to shut down the area around the accident scene for the investigation to be completed.

There was no immediate word on the identity of the woman killed or what caused the crash, according to Cooksey.

24-year-old maintenance worker Andrew J. Knutson killed Thursday morning when a landscape shed exploded near the Willowick Apartments in Greenfield, I


A 24-year-old maintenance worker was killed Thursday morning when a landscape shed exploded, an official said.

Firefighters were called to the 7000 block of West Southridge Drive, near the Willowick Apartments, at about 10 a.m. First responders found the shed fully engulfed in flames and a man on the ground with extensive burns.

Andrew J. Knutson was pronounced dead at Columbia-St. Mary's Hospital.

"It's a tragedy. I mean, he's been working with me for three years, so he's pretty much like a son to me. He had a birthday coming up. It's just a bad situation," said Bob Fuetterer, a friend of the victim.

An official at the scene told WISN 12 News that Knutson was a resident of the apartments complex.

No other structures were damaged. The cause of the explosion wasn't immediately known.


GREENFIELD — A 24-year-old Greenfield man died after an explosion and fire in a maintenance shed at an apartment complex on Thursday morning, June 22nd.

Officials identified the victim Friday, June 23rd as 24-year-old Andrew Knutson.

Andrew Knutson

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at the Willowick Apartments just before 10:00 a.m. When they arrived on the scene, they found the maintenance shed fully engulfed in flames — and Knutson lying outside the shed with extensive burns.

Maintenance shed fire in Greenfield

Knutson was removed from the scene — and paramedics administered life-saving measures. He was taken to Columbia-St. Mary’s Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

People in the neighborhood said the fire has shaken them. Debris was everywhere Thursday afternoon, and neighbors said you could see the smoke from the fire for miles.

“I kind of thought it was something serious like someone might have lost their life or something like that,” said Kendall Pleasant, Willowick resident.

One resident captured the flames on a cell phone, showing the intensity of the blaze, as firefighters raced to extinguish it.

Maintenance shed fire in Greenfield

“I seen the cops blocking off both the entrance and the exit here, and blocked off everything where the situation happened at,” said Pleasant.

Residents said the garage holds lawn equipment, propane tanks and lawn mowers.

“I’m sure people will get to the bottom of it; figure out what really happened, but it’s unfortunate that somebody lost their life, especially somebody that’s so young, too,” said Pleasant.

Some of the maintenance workers who knew Knutson said he was a young, hardworking man who was well liked and respected by friends and family. His absence will be felt, and his smile will be missed, they said.

Maintenance shed fire in Greenfield

The cause of the explosion is under investigation.

Carlos (Charly) Nunez died at a hospital from injuries he suffered in the May 31 explosion at the plant in Cambria, Didion Milling

CAMBRIA, WI - A fifth worker injured in an explosion last month at a corn milling plant died Friday, the company said.

Carlos (Charly) Nunez died at a hospital from injuries he suffered in the May 31 explosion at the plant in Cambria, Didion Milling officials say. The community is about 45 miles northeast of Madison, WI.

Angel Reyes, 46, died June 6 at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison.

Machine operator Pawel Tordoff’s body was pulled from the rubble June 2. Forklift driver Robert Goodenow’s body was found in the debris June 1. Mill operator Duelle Block was found dead dead shortly after the explosion.

The blast and fire occurred as employees were working the overnight shift.

Didion Milling employs more than 200 in facilities in Johnson Creek, Cambria and Markesan.


A fifth victim of last month’s explosion at the Didion Milling Plant in Cambria died early Friday.

Carlos “Charly” Nunez died at the UW Hospital burn unit from burns he suffered in the blast, the company said in a statement.

Angel Reyes, a 46-year-old pack operator at the plant, died at UW Hospital on June 6. The blast also killed Duelle Block, 27, a mill operator; Robert Goodenow, 53, a forklift operator; and Pawel Tordoff, 21, a packing machine operator.

One other employee remains at UW Hospital, said Jeffrey Remsik, a spokesman for Didion. He declined to provide the employee’s condition.

The May 31 explosion sent 11 of the 16 plant employees working at the time to hospitals.

The explosion destroyed much of the facility, where the process of demolition and debris removal is continuing, Remsick said.

Most employees have returned to work, he said.

The results of an investigation by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board into the cause of the explosion are pending, Remsick said.

The company was fined by OSHA in 2011 after federal authorities determined that Didion had not installed equipment to protect workers from dust that can cause explosions.

Didion employs more than 200 people in facilities in Johnson Creek, Cambria and Markesan.