Infrastructure Daily News 07.13.12

Transportation Sector

. July 12, Springfield Republican – (Massachusetts) Chemical spill closes Lee Service Plaza on Massachusetts Turnpike. Lee Service Plaza, in Lee, Massachusetts, east of the Massachusetts Turnpike in the Berkshires, was closed for 7 hours so crews could clean up a toxic chemical spill, according to Massachusetts State Police (MSP), the Springfield Republican reported July 12. A delivery truck spilled a flammable adhesive substance, prompting a HAZMAT response, according to a MSP sergeant. The westbound Lee Service Plaza area remained open, but the eastbound plaza was closed for 7 hours. Source:

. July 12, Los Angeles Times – (California) Flaw at L.A. light-rail junction poses derailment risk, experts say. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) officials ran into complications trying to fix a junction on the recently opened Expo light-rail line, where experts said a serious track flaw presented a higher risk of train derailments, the Los Angeles Times reported July 12. Metro officials believed they found a permanent solution to a rail alignment problem where the Expo Line and Blue Line merge south of downtown Los Angeles, but regulators with the California Public Utilities Commission, which oversees certain rail operations, contradicted Metro’s assertion that wear was the problem July 11. State officials said a small part of the outer layer of the weld broke before July 6 and that the same weld also had broken in May. First noticed in June 2010, the alignment flaw affects a portion of the junction used by southbound trains on the Blue Line that runs between Long Beach and Los Angeles. With 140 trips a day and 26 million annual riders, it is one of the busiest light-rail lines in the nation. Source: 20120712,0,212676.story

. July 12, Detroit Free Press – (Michigan; International) Detroit-Windsor tunnel traffic reopens in wake of bomb scare. The Detroit-Windsor Tunnel that connects Detroit with Windsor, Ontario, Canada, reopened the afternoon of July 12 in the wake of a bomb scare that shut the passage for several hours. The tunnel closed before 2 p.m. as authorities investigated a bomb threat. “Nothing was found,” said the tunnel president and CEO. Source: Windsor-tunnel-bomb-threat-shutdown?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

. July 12, WCMH 4 Columbus – (Ohio) Train crew was not speeding before derailment, investigators say. Officials said July 12 that a train that derailed and exploded July 11 was not speeding, and that crew members saw nothing unusual on the track before the crash in Columbus, Ohio. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Norfolk Southern train was traveling southbound from Chicago to Linwood, North Carolina, at 23 mph, and approaching a “fairly aggressive” curve in the track, and had a clear signal. Seventeen train cars derailed, there was an explosion, and four train cars carrying ethanol caught fire. The train, a little more than 1 mile long and with 2 locomotives and 98 freight cars was carrying 12,319 tons of material, including ethanol, styrene monomer, grain and corn syrup. At the time of the explosion, there were 90,000 gallons of ethanol on the train. Three ethanol cars and one car hauling wheat caught fire. Two people who were in the vicinity of the train when it derailed were injured. The victims drove themselves to the hospital. Residents in the area were evacuated after the crash. As of late afternoon July 12, officials said the four train cars that burned after the derailment remained at the site but clear of the tracks. Norfolk Southern employees were working to repair the two lines of track, and there was no estimated time for when full train traffic would be restored. Source: investigato-ar-1100790/

. July 11, USA Today – (National) FAA proposes nearly $1 million fine against Delta Air Lines. Delta Air Lines faced nearly $1 million in fines from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after the agency said the airline flew planes with flaws in a nose cone and a cockpit light, USA Today reported July 11. The latest case for Delta involved a February 2010 inspection that found a chip in the Boeing 737-800 nose cone that was supposed to be fixed immediately. But the FAA proposed a $687,500 fine because the plane allegedly flew 20 additional flights before it was repaired. The FAA also claimed Delta had a problem with an Airbus A320 that had a broken cockpit floodlight socket that was to be repaired within 10 days. The FAA proposed a $300,000 fine because it said the plane flew 884 times from May 2010 to January 2011 without a fix. Source: nearly-1-million-fine-against-Delta-Air-Lines/56156006/1 For more stories, see items 3, 4, 30, and 42

Postal and Shipping Sector

. July 12, Washington Post – (National) Postal workers participate in bioterrorism response drill. Escorted by a police officer, a total of 2 million households in 5 cities will have a surprise visit from their letter carrier the summer of 2012, and they will deposit up to 2 bottles of emergency doxycyclene in each mailbox, first responders to a fictional anthrax, or other bioterrorist attack, the Washington Post reported July 12. Although the pill bottles will not actually contain real drugs, it is a scenario designed to prepare local officials for a biological terror attack with a quick strike delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. The mail carriers, all volunteers, are the lynchpin of a pilot program launched with a dry run May 6 in Minneapolis-St. Paul and will continue until the end of September in Louisville, Kentucky, San Diego, Boston, and Philadelphia. With a $10 million budget, the postal service is teaming up with the Department of Health and Human Services, State, and local health officials and law enforcement agencies to devise a program that would deliver antibiotics to thousands of households in each city within hours of an attack. Officials said the mail carriers could be deployed as soon as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the order to local health officials to release medicine. Source: in-bioterrorism-response-drill

. July 11, Lorain Morning Journal – (Ohio) 35-year-old woman says mailbox was blown up. A woman told police someone blew up her mailbox July 10 in Lorain, Ohio, according to a police report. Officers were called when the woman reported hearing a loud bang. She and police found the mailbox, which was enclosed in a brick structure, had its top blown off and a metal part of the box “was fanned out” toward the street “as though a significant explosion had occurred inside of it,” the report said. Source: 0327250566.txt For another story, see item 42

Emergency Services Sector

. July 12, Homeland Security News Wire – (New York; National) FDNY conducts live fire tests to test improvements in fire department tactics. Members of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) spent much of the first 2 weeks in July setting fire to 20 abandoned townhouses on Governors Island, about 0.62 miles from the southern tip of Manhattan, New York. In a series of “live burn” experiments, conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Underwriters Laboratories, New York firefighters challenged the conventional wisdom on, and tested new tactics for, controlling fires and rescuing occupants inside burning homes. The experiments evaluated individual and combinations of methods for strategically ventilating and isolating fires to prevent flashover — or at least delay it. In contrast, kicking a door open or breaking a window without knowledge of conditions inside could create a portal for air that can literally fan the flames. Information gathered and lessons learned during Governors Island tests will be shared with fire departments throughout the nation. In addition, the NIST will use the data to improve the accuracy and improve the capabilities of its widely used fire modeling software. Source: tests-to-test-improvements-in-fire-department-tactics

. July 12, Associated Press – (Washington D.C.) DC mayor to introduce new 911 emergency system; allows users to build online profiles. Washington, D.C. officials were unveiling a new 9-1-1 system for people calling in emergencies, the Associated Press reported July 12. The Smart911 option, already in place elsewhere in many parts of the country, allows residents to create online profiles about themselves to help emergency officials in their response. The profiles can include personal information, such as existing medical conditions, allergies, or the number of pets in the home, that are automatically displayed to 9-1-1 operators only during emergency calls. That way, emergency responders can be better prepared in arriving at a scene. Source: emergency-system-allows-users-to-build-onlineprofiles/ 2012/07/12/gJQABlbkeW_story.html

. July 12, Associated Press – (Mississippi) FBI: probe continues into May 20 Adams County Correctional Center riot. Officials at the Adams County Correctional Center in Natchez, Mississippi said cleanup was complete but the facility remained lockdown following the May 20 prison riot in which one guard died and 16 other prison employees were injured, the Associated Press reported July 12. An FBI spokeswoman said the federal investigation into the riot continues. A correctional center spokeswoman told the Natchez Democrat that FBI officials are no longer on-site. She said prison management was cooperating with the investigation. During the riot, an inmate called a news station and said the violence was in retaliation for poor treatment. Later, the Adams County sheriff said it was caused by gang violence that spread as mass hysteria took over the prison. Since the riot, 10 employees have left the employ of the center. Source:– Prison-Riot-Investigation

. July 12, Associated Press – (Tennessee) Audit finds problems with Wilson Co. task forces. A recent audit found that improper safeguards led to missing money and drugs seized by two anti-crime task forces run by law enforcement officers in Wilson County, Tennessee, the Associated Press reported July 12. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the FBI asked the comptroller’s office to assist in an investigation related to cash, vehicles, and other assets seized by the Joint Violent Crimes Task Force and the Safe Streets Task Force. Among the findings was that some case files were incomplete or missing, including one involving bags of cocaine that were seized but could not be found. The deputy assigned to head Wilson County’s participation in the task forces pleaded guilty to obstruction of official proceeding and was sentenced to 18 years. Source: forces/mYQq7EcW6UeoCWsVQozvqA.cspx For another story, see item 22

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