AMU Emergency Management Original Public Safety

EDM Monday Briefing: Space Heater Allegedly Cause of Deadly NY Fire

Emergency and disaster management briefing for January 10, 2022: A large chunk of ice that broke off left 34 people floating more than a mile from shore in the waters of Green Bay, Wisconsin; thousands of residents remain without power nearly two weeks after a winter storm in California; two LAPD officers are being credited with saving the life of a pilot who crashed onto train tracks; a landslide blocked a single access point for 24 families in Kauai and left a historic bridge severely damaged; a faulty space heater is allegedly the cause of the New York fire that killed 19 people; at least 10 people are dead and more are missing after a wall of rock smashed into boats on a lake in Brazil; the FAA has a list of 50 airports that will receive a buffer zone ahead of the January 19 rollout of 5G; and packaged salads are recalled due to potential listeria monocytogenes contamination.

1. Thirty-four people had to be rescued off a large chunk of ice in the waters off Green Bay, Wisconsin. The ice broke off from the shoreline, allegedly after a barge went through the bay to break up ice. Mutual aid was required to rescue the 34 individuals who had floated nearly one mile away from shore on the large ice chunk.

2. Thousands of residents across four counties in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California remain without power after nearly two weeks. A strong winter storm caused widespread and heavy damage to Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) power lines and other electrical transmission equipment, some of which is located in areas that are difficult to access. Residents are being directed to community resource centers established by PG&E in order to charge their electronic devices or grab essential supplies. There is no update as to when the power will be fully restored.

3. Local police officers are being credited with saving the life of a pilot who crash-landed on train tracks in Pacoima. Two Los Angeles police officers rescued a pilot who crashed a Cessna 172 airplane and dragged him to safety just seconds before the plane was hit by an approaching train. Officers were able to move the pilot, bleeding heavily from his head, about 15 feet away from the accident scene before the train impacted the small plane and sent debris flying.

4. A landslide last Tuesday on Kauai cut access in and out of the area for at least 24 families. The landslide completely blocked the roadway, downed power lines and left many of the residents on Menehune Road without electricity. The historic Waimea Swinging Bridge was also severely damaged in the landslide. On Sunday, the governor of Hawaii issued an emergency proclamation for the incident. There is no timeline as to when the roadway will be cleared or when power will be restored.

5. A faulty space heater is being blamed for the blaze that killed 19 people, including nine children, in Fordham Heights, New York. Approximately 63 people were also injured during the fire, and others were trampled when people fled the building. According to reports, working fire alarms were ignored by residents. A resident heard the fire alarm and reportedly called it in to the local fire department.

6. Several small boats were on Furnas Lake in Brazil when an entire wall of rock broke loose from cliffs and slammed into at least one of the boats on Saturday. A total of at least 10 people were killed, many others were injured, and an unknown number of people are still missing. The lake was created in 1958 as part of a hydroelectric plant, and the area, located near Capitolio City, draws about 5,000 visitors on a weekend.

7. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a list of at least 50 airports that will be protected from 5G signals from cell towers operated by Verizon and AT&T. Rollout of the 5G towers was pushed back until January 19 by the telecom companies, allowing buffer zones to be installed at the listed airports. The airports were picked by the FAA for not only their location and traffic, but the likelihood of low-visibility impacts to that particular airport.

8. A recall of packaged salad has been issued by Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc, for the Dole and private label brands, due to potential listeria monocytogenes contamination. The packaged salads were produced at two separate facilities: one in Springfield, Ohio, and the other in Soledad, California. The salads were shipped to a majority of the states across the U.S., including Hawaii, and to at least six provinces in Canada.

Kimberly Arsenault serves as an intern at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency where she works on plan revisions and special projects. Previously, Kimberly spent 15 years in commercial and business aviation. Her positions included station manager at the former Midwest Express Airlines, as well as corporate flight attendant, inflight manager, and charter flight coordinator. Kimberly currently holds a master's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Public University.

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