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Thursday, September 21, 2017 @ 02:09 PM gHale

Fire rages at the Energy Transfer plant off Texas Beef Road in Sunray, TX, in this photo taken by a resident.

After a fire that broke out at the Energy Transfer plant off Texas Beef Road in Sunray, TX, late Saturday night, city officials said they still do not know how the fire started or where exactly in the plant it occurred.

The fire, they said, had to do with the gas they refine.

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“Some type of gas that they refine in the plant, but I’m not 100 percent sure on the type or where the fire was in the plant. I can tell you everyone that was at the facility has been accounted for, there is no injuries,” said Tommy Brooks, Moore County emergency management coordinator.

Emergency crews stayed on scene overnight to monitor the situation, they were sent home Sunday afternoon. No injuries were reported and the City of Sunray was not in any danger, although a perimeter was set up a mile around the plant. 

Tommy Brooks with the Moore County Office of Emergency Management explained to us Saturday night what kind of precautions were taken. 

“They’ve locked in all the pipes, pipelines going into the facility, once all that gas burns off, which will be several hours from now, they’ll go in and start doing air monitoring and assessments and well determine when we can open the area back up,” Brooks said. 

Energy Transfer crews were allowed on the scene this afternoon to assess the damage and start the clean-up process. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 02:09 PM gHale

Over 20,000 pounds of butane emissions released Friday night when flames shot out from an Enterprise Products Partners underground storage site in Mont Belvieu, TX.

The Enterprise fire, which ended up extinguished late Friday night, involved natural gas liquids stored in a brine pit at the Mont Belvieu complex.

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While the cause is still being investigated, it was not related to any damages from Hurricane Harvey, Enterprise spokesman Rick Rainey said.

He said there were no injuries, nor was there any threat to the public. The fire caused minimal damage and Enterprise’s other operations weren’t impacted, he said.

The fire lasted for more than three hours and also caused smaller emissions releases of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, according to a new Enterprise incident filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 02:09 PM gHale

Two aerial ladder trucks spray water on the Pacific Recycling Center fire early Sunday morning.

A large fire broke out late Saturday night in a stack of salvage vehicles at Pacific Recycling Center on Palmer Street in Missoula, MT.

When Missoula Fire Department reached the fire, crews found 30-foot flames burning the group of vehicles while propane and other fuel tanks exploded.

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Crews, worried about a larger fuel tank and the eight-foot fences around the site of the fire, used aerial ladder trucks to spray water on the fire from a safe distance.

Assistant Chief Jeff Brandt said the fire’s complexity was “why we rolled as many people as we could, with the hazardous materials and oils” that were in the recycling yard.

A Pacific Recycling employee also used an excavator to break the pile of vehicles down and helped stabilize the fire in less than an hour.

Twenty-three firefighters were on scene while the Missoula Police Department and Missoula Emergency Services responded as well.

The cause of the fire is unknown, but a fire investigator is currently on scene.

Friday, September 15, 2017 @ 01:09 PM gHale

An oil sands worker is recovering from injuries after an electrical fire at a Canadian Natural Resources (CNRL) oil sands plant north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.

Company emergency crews responded to the fire on Monday night inside a building at the Horizon plant site, CNRL spokesperson Julie Woo said.

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Workers in the area evacuated as the fire was extinguished by first responders on site. A full evacuation of the plant was not required, CNRL said. 

One person was transported to hospital with minor injuries. Woo would not say if the worker was an employee or a contractor.  

The cause of the fire is under investigation, and the extent of the damage is still being assessed, CNRL said. 

The fire is not expected to impact operations or production because the plant had already been shut down Monday morning in preparation for planned maintenance, CNRL said.

Occupational Health and Safety officials were unavailable to comment on the investigation.

Friday, September 8, 2017 @ 02:09 PM gHale

Tanks burn at the battery tank plant near Carlsbad, NM.

Three people are dead following an explosion at a Caza Petroleum Lease Corporation battery tank plant near Carlsbad, NM, last Friday, officials said.

The identities of those individuals were not available, said Eddy County Sheriff’s Office (ECSO) spokesperson Lt. Matt Hutchinson, but he said they are believed to be workers.  

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Deputies got the call just before 11 a.m., and upon arrival they found a battery tank engulfed in flames. Hutchinson said multiple county fire agencies battled the blaze, which took nearly three hours to extinguish.

ECSO is investigating the incident.

New Mexico State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn released the following statement Friday night.

“It is with great sadness that I learned of the tragic accident and loss of life on State Trust Lands in Eddy County. On behalf of the State Land Office, I offer my deepest condolences to the families of the victims.”

Hutchinson said battery tanks are used to measure and test the volume of oil before it is pumped into a pipeline.

Caza Petroleum, an Odessa, Texas-based company, leased the property where the explosion occurred from the New Mexico State Land Office, according to officials in the State Land Office. 

Caza could not be reached for comment. Officials have not released information regarding the employer of the victims. 

The names of the three persons who died in the explosion have not been released pending an official report from the New Mexico Office of Medical Investigator (OMI), said Lt. Matt Hutchinson with the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the OMI, autopsies are typically conducted within the first 24 hours of receiving a body, but it can take a week or more to release a final report.

Hutchinson said the Sheriff’s Office is investigating how the deaths occurred rather than the origin of the explosion and fire, which falls under the purview of other agencies. 

“We are determining facts, not faults,” Hutchinson said.

The Eddy County Fire Service and the New Mexico Occupational Safety and Health Bureau (OSHB) are conducting individual investigations.

Allison Majure, spokeswoman for the New Mexico Environment Department, said two inspectors with OSHB were immediately sent to the rural area of Otis Friday.

Friday, September 1, 2017 @ 03:09 PM gHale

Firefighter rests after fighting a multi-alarm fire that broke out Saturday and burned until Sunday afternoon at the Communications Corporation of America printing plant in Boston, VA.

A multi-alarm fire that began late Saturday night and continued burning into Sunday afternoon destroyed the Communications Corporation of America (CCA) printing plant in Boston, VA.

More than 200 firefighters from at least two dozen volunteer fire departments throughout northern and central Virginia responded to the massive blaze.

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While a towering plume of smoke was visible from miles away, there were no major injuries in the incident and the cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

CCA is “a direct mail production facility [that] specializes in continuous form printing, data processing, personalization, finishing, and mail processing, according to a Bloomberg business profile.

The company offers specialty work, such as embossed and thermal plastic cards, notepads, address labels, and carbonless form impact printing. It offers direct mail services to clients in the United States and internationally.”

Monday, August 28, 2017 @ 04:08 PM gHale

A hydrogen cyanide leak prompted evacuations at PAML Spokane Wednesday night.

Spokane, WA, Fire Department crews got the call at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. They remained on scene until around 4:30 a.m. Thursday, officials said.

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Crews struggled to find the source of the chemical leak at first, but ultimately found a bad battery that was leaking the chemical. PAML Spokane is a 60-year-old medical-testing laboratory located in Spokane, WA.

Hydrogen cyanide exposure typically causes respiratory problems and, in cases of long exposure, can be fatal, according to fire officials. 

No employees suffered exposure to the chemical long enough to suffer long-term health issues, Spokane Fire officials said. No employees suffered injuries in the incident.

Friday, August 25, 2017 @ 05:08 PM gHale

A pre-planned safety program came into play after one person suffered an injury in an explosion at a gas bottling facility in Salem Township, PA, Wednesday, fire officials said.

The gas explosion occurred at Western International Gas & Cylinders, on River Road off U.S. Route 11, at 1:52 p.m. Wednesday, said Assistant Fire Chief Rich Eyer. One person suffered burns from the blast.

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A fire in an acetylene tank caused an explosion that injured one employee of the business, Eyer said.

The fire suppression system at the facility kept the flames under control and firefighters stayed at the scene mainly as a precautionary measure until the fire burned itself out, Eyer said.

The injured worker was taken to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Eyer said. The worker’s name and medical condition were not available Wednesday night.

An official from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) arrived at the scene late Wednesday afternoon. Emergency management officials from Salem Twp. and Luzerne County also responded, Eyer said.

Salem Twp. firefighters have a “pre-plan” in effect for responding to incidents at the Western International Gas location, according to Eyer. At Wednesday’s incident, “everything went according to plan,” he said.

Eyer said he called in a third alarm as a precaution, in case the fire suppression system failed.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017 @ 06:08 PM gHale

A worker was found dead at the Deserado Mine near Rangely, CO, Wednesday night under a two-ton trough at a coal production facility, federal officials.

Jason Stevens, 32, of Vernal, Utah, died in the accident, said Rio Blanco County Deputy Coroner Roy Kinney. The U.S. Mine Safety & Health Administration confirmed it is investigating the accident and has an inspector and investigator on site.

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The initial investigation found Stevens, a surface mechanic, was working alone and didn’t report at the end of his shift, according to Mine Safety & Health Administration spokeswoman Amy Louviere. She said an operator found him at 1:30 a.m. under the trough, which is a type of container used to clean coal. An autopsy will determine the exact cause of death, Kinney said.

The accident happened in the mine’s processing plant, which cleans the coal before it’s shipped.

“The accident occurred above ground inside the coal processing building, as the worker was attempting to remove a portion of a steel beam,” said Danny Clark, the mine’s human resources manager.

Three other accidents have been documented in 2017 at the mine, according to data collected by the Mine Safety & Health Administration. In those accidents, workers sustained a broken hand and lacerations that required stitches and there was an incident where the tip of a finger was amputated.

The Deserado Mine received 166 violations from mine inspectors in 2017, and currently owes almost $12,000 in delinquent penalties, according to Mine Safety & Health Administration data. The mine has paid $28,313 in penalties so far this year and has had $50,539 in proposed penalties related to violations, according to the agency. Twenty-two of those violations have been issued since July 1, and include everything from citations for accumulation of combustible materials to not maintaining belt conveyors properly, which is considered a fire hazard.

The mine, operated by Blue Mountain Energy Co., produces bituminous coal from a longwall mine that supplies the Deseret Power Electric Cooperative based in South Jordan, Utah. It’s located in Rio Blanco County northeast of Rangely, in the Uinta Basin.

It’s the first fatality at the mine since October 1996, according to data from the Mine Safety & Health Administration.

The Deserado Mine produced more than 1.5 million tons of coal in 2016, according to Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety. The facility employed approximately 150 miners in 2016 and reported seven injuries to the state in 2016.

Stevens’ death is the eleventh fatality at a coal mine in the country in 2017, according to federal data. There have been 18 fatalities at mines of all types in the U.S. this year to date.

Thursday, August 3, 2017 @ 04:08 PM gHale

Five people suffered injuries in an explosion at U.S. Steel Corp.’s Great Lakes Works facility in River Rouge, MI, late Monday night, officials said.

The incident occurred at the “80-in mill” on Great Lakes Street near Zug Island, said officials at the River Rouge Fire Department.

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The River Rouge Fire Department got the call at 11:30 p.m. Monday to the U.S. Steel facility near Zug Island for a reported explosion, said River Rouge fire Capt. Marvin Dotson.

The situation was under control with employees already transported to the hospital when firefighters arrived, he said.

Five workers ended up transported to local hospitals for treatment following the incident at the facility’s Hot Strip Mill, according to a statement from U.S. Steel.

Of the injured employees, two remained hospitalized Tuesday, according to the statement. One employee ended up treated and released at the plant’s on-site medical care facility.

Information on the nature of the explosion was not immediately available. 

U.S. Steel will work with United Steelworkers and government agencies while the incident remains under investigation, according to the company statement.