Infrastructure Daily News 10.06.11

Transportation Sector

. October 5, WPVI 6 Philadelphia and Associated Press – (New York; New Jersey) Pilot in fatal NYC chopper crash was experienced. The man at the helm of a private helicopter that crashed into the East River between New York and New Jersey, killing one passenger and injuring three others October 4, was an experienced commercial pilot who owns a company that manages a local airport. Investigators were still trying to determine why the helicopter went down shortly after takeoff from a riverbank heliport. Emergency crews arrived within seconds of the crash to find the helicopter upside-down in the water with just its skids showing on the surface. The pilot and three passengers were bobbing, and witnesses reported a man diving down, possibly in an attempt to rescue the remaining passenger. New York Police Department divers pulled the last passenger, age 40, from the water about 90 minutes after the Bell 206 Jet Ranger went down at around 3:30 p.m. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The crash triggered a massive rescue effort, with a dozen boats and divers going into the water. Police officers doing a counterterrorism drill nearby jumped into the water wearing their uniforms, and without any rescue equipment they pulled the passengers to shore. Fire department rescue paramedics revived two passengers, who were in critical condition; another was stable. All were hospitalized. The pilot swam to shore and was uninjured. Source:

. October 5, WCAU 10 Philadelphia – (New Jersey) Slashed tires put the brakes on NJ buses. Vandals slashed the tires of all the vehicles at the bus depot on Route 38 in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, overnight October 5, causing the Burlington County Transportation System bus service to shut down for the day. The Burlington County Transportation system confirmed there would be no buses running October 5. Those affected are the BurLink fixed route and paratransit for seniors and the disabled. Authorities said vandals slashed 106 tires on 31 buses. It is estimated the company will lose more than $31,000 because of the incident. Police are investigating. Source: NJ-Bus-Service-131128288.html

. October 4, CNN – (Arizona) 1 dead, 4 critically hurt after Arizona dust storm triggers pileups. One person was killed and four critically injured October 4 in a series of highway pileups triggered by a dense dust storm on Interstate 10 in central Arizona, a state law enforcement official said. The dust storm moved through the Pichacho Peak area, about 40 miles north of Tucson, at about 12:15 p.m. and caused “minimal visibility” on a stretch of Interstate 10 there, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) said. He said 16 vehicles were involved in the chain reaction accidents. “We closed the eastbound lanes to allow emergency responders access to the scene,” he said. “Due to the poor visibility, all patients were transported by ground ambulance to Tucson area hospitals.” The dust continues to cause a major hindrance to DPS officers and other rescue personnel, the spokesman added. Another pileup involving eight vehicles, occurred about 90 minutes later, 20 miles to the south on I-10, he said. Two people were critically injured in that incident, which occurred on the eastbound lanes of I-10. The spokesman said he could not estimate when the interstate would reopen in either direction. Source:

. October 4, Associated Press – (Texas) Houston METRO rail hits dump truck, 15 injured. Authorities said 15 people were injured October 4, when a light rail train derailed after striking a dump truck that ran a red light in downtown Houston. Houston Metro officials said the train operator, 13 passengers, and the truck driver were transported to hospitals with minor injuries. Metro officials told the Houston Chronicle the truck driver could not see the red light because of the reflection of the sun. Houston police said a hazardous materials unit contained a fuel leak from the dump truck. Source: injured/

. October 4, Denver Post – (Colorado) CSP: Slick material that led to crashes on I-70 is water plant waste. A truck hauling waste from a water treatment plant leaked October 3, leaving a slippery trail and traffic accidents on the highway, investigators said. The truck that left the slick material on a portion of eastbound I-70 in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, and a nearby section of I-76, is an EDS Waste Solutions vehicle, the Wheat Ridge Police Department said. The driver was given a traffic ticket for a spilled load on the highway. About a dozen vehicles, including at least three motorcycles, were involved in the highway crashes, which knotted rush hour traffic on the highway near Carr Street. The eastbound lanes were closed for almost 3 hours. The slick substance also caused a single motorcycle accident on I-76 in Adams County, the state patrol said. A Colorado State Patrol spokesman said all of the injured people taken to the hospital October 3 have been released. Source:

. October 4, KMBC 9 Kansas City – (Missouri) Multiple train cars derail in Carroll County. A train derailment October 4 blocked Highway 10 in Carroll County, Missouri, local fire department officials said. A Norfolk Southern spokesman said 10 cars went off the track at about 3:30 p.m. The cars were carrying auto parts. Highway 10 opened late the afternoon of October 4. Source: For another story, see item 2

Postal and Shipping Sector Nothing to report

Emergency Services Sector

. October 5, Press of Atlantic City – (New Jersey) Atlantic City casinos give police access to surveillance systems; will share video, voice, text via Internet. Police will soon have access to Atlantic City, New Jersey casinos’ surveillance systems to help them fight crime in the Tourism District, the Press of Atlantic City reported October 5. By early next spring, all gaming halls will be part of Mutualink, a radio and wireless interoperability system that will allow law enforcement access to the closed-circuit televisions in each casino, as well as hospitals and other public institutions. State officials said access to the cameras will help emergency responders in the event of a terrorist attack or other public safety event. The agreement between casinos and the state Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) , announced October 4, follows the highly publicized carjacking last month at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort that left a Middlesex County man dead, and his female companion wounded. The DGE has been working with state police and the office of homeland security and preparedness to activate the emergency system in each casino that will allow dispatchers, police, fire, emergency medical services, and other public safety agencies to share voice, video, text, and files across a secure Internet connection. Source: give-police-access-to-surveillance-systems-will/article_a6c83b30-eee5-11e0- 9637-001cc4c002e0.html

. October 5, Associated Press – (Connecticut; National) Responders train for hybrid, electric car rescues. In 2010, the National Fire Protection Association received a $4.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a training program to instruct fire department personnel on the potential hazards they may encounter at a motor vehicle accident with all-electric and hybrid vehicles, or cars with both combustion engines and battery packs. Instructors from 38 fire departments across Connecticut recently attended a train-the-trainer course at the Connecticut Fire Academy to view procedures in handling all-electric and hybrid vehicle accidents,the Associated Press reported October 5. The fire association took the data and created a 2- page Emergency Response Guide, so emergency crews could focus on critical information when they arrive at the scene of an accident. The fire association instructor said the high strength steel being used in electric and hybrid cars is creating additional concerns. Although the cars are 75 percent lighter, they are now 15 percent stronger, making it difficult for firefighters to cut through to reach anyone trapped inside, he said. Another possible danger is a battery breach, he said, in which fluids can leak onto the ground, creating an environmental hazard. Source:,0,3939571. story

. October 4, – (District of Columbia) D.C. officials get priority phone access during emergencies. To allow city officials to better respond to emergencies and disasters, October 4 members of the Washington D.C. Council were given special cards that allow their calls to take priority during moments of heavy call volume. The cards, which are part of the DHS’s Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS), provide “emergency access and priority processing in the local and long distance segments of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).” GETS is “intended to be used in an emergency or crisis situation when the PSTN is congested and the probability of completing a call over normal or other alternate telecommunication means has significantly decreased,” according to DHS. The agency said the GETS card is designed to provide 90 percent call completion rates when call volume is eight times higher than usual. Source:

. October 4, Durango Herald – (Colorado) Lightning disables 911 tower. Lightning believed to have struck October 2 or early October 3 disabled a radio tower with multiple antennas on Grassy Mountain between the Forest Lakes subdivision and Vallecito Reservoir near Bayfield, Colorado. A statewide communications system that operates on 800 megahertz, and the local VHF emergency dispatch system that serves the Upper Pine Fire Protection District (UPFPD) were affected, UPFPD’s chief said October 4. The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office communications van, stationed at Vallecito, has taken up the slack, providing a link for local emergency service, the chief said. “As a result, there has been no interruption, no lapse, in local emergency response,” he said, noting 911 calls will be answered by central dispatch in Bodo Industrial Park. The chief said parts to repair the radio tower, which operates on solar panels with an engine-powered backup, are being delivered from Grand Junction. The 800-megahertz system could be out for up to 10 days. Source:

. October 4, St. Petersburg Times; Associated Press – (National) Tampa takes heed as cyber threat accompanies Occupy Wall Street protest. The Occupy Wall Street protest is coming to Tampa, Florida, and it appears a notorious hacker group has threatened Tampa police online assets, the St. Petersburg Times and Associated Press reported October 4. In a YouTube video, a masked man warns police brutality will be the department’s downfall. “If you wish to have the Tampa Police Department alive as a whole — and this is metaphorically speaking — then stay away from the protesters,” he said. The video is attributed to “hacktivist” group Anonymous, best known for its cyber attacks on Sony, Bank of America, and the Iranian government. It is unclear if Anonymous is truly behind the video, or if the masked man is acting alone. Nonetheless, the city is preparing. It has to, Tampa’s chief information officer said, given Anonymous’ previous cyber hacking successes. The city already has intrusion detectors and firewalls in its systems that officials constantly update. They do not plan to buy new products, he said. Instead, employees will monitor the systems more closely this week. Source: occupy-wall-street-protest-set/1195089

. October 3, Baltimore Brew – (Maryland) Fire department confirms hydrants didn’t work at Sparrows Point. The Baltimore County Fire Department confirmed October 3 that fire crews responding to a fire at the Sparrows Point steel mill in Maryland were faced with non-working fire hydrants. Firefighters used water on several responding engines and dispatched a high-capacity tanker from the Kingsville Volunteer Fire Company September 30, the chief public safety officer said. While the absence of working hydrants “probably had minimal impact on the eventual damage to the building,” the officer said it “subjected our personnel to additional risk.” It also meant the department had to commit more personnel and equipment to fighting the fire. It took nearly 2 hours to get the fire under control. Once the fire began –- reportedly from sparks mixing with oil in the basement of the mill –- “it quickly escalated beyond the plant’s ability to handle it, and the fire department was called,” according to officials. Source: didn%e2%80%99t-work-at-sparrows-point/ For more stories, see items 4, 15, and 45

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