Cause Of Chemical Leak Unknown At West Elizabeth Sewage Plant

Posted: 2:29 pm EDT April 15, 2011
Updated: 5:04 pm EDT April 15, 2011

WEST ELIZABETH, Pa. — Hazmat crews were called to a chemical leak at the West Elizabeth Sanitary Authority on Friday.

Acting Allegheny County Emergency Services chief said the spill was of an unknown hydrocarbon. Alvin Henderson said the substance was drawn into West Elizabeth’s sewer system.

Henderson said, “The chemical was carried to the treatment plant, and some may have entered the Monongahela River. A home near the treatment plant was evacuated. Allegheny County Emergency Services is on site.”

The site is stable, according to Henderson.

There is no word on what caused the leak. Officials said the chemical doesn’t appear to pose any danger.

Posted in Pennsylvania, Response | Leave a comment

Domestic Dispute Leads To Hazmat, Bomb Squad Call

SPRINGDALE BOROUGH, Pa. — A call about a domestic dispute ended with the Allegheny County bomb squad spending hours at a Springdale Borough home.

Channel 4 Action News’ Amber Nicotra reported police were called to a home in the 900 block of Lincoln Avenue around 1:30 a.m. Friday.

After police arrived, they discovered a number of hazardous chemicals in the house, some of which were potentially explosive.

“They were just wearing entry suits and SBA chemical suits and a self contained breathing apparatus, just in case there was something inside that was hazardous to their health,” said Springdale Fire Chief Kevin Wilhelm.

Jim Gibbs, who lives in the home, is a chemical engineer. He told Nicotra that has lived in the home for nearly 60 years and stores his chemicals in a separate building.

Gibbs told Nicotra that he would never hurt anyone and that the incident started because he had an argument with his girlfriend and she called police, saying he had chemicals to make bombs.

“She called the police and said I had all kinds of dangerous chemicals in the house which, I have chemicals, but nothing dangerous,” Gibbs said. “I’m no threat, they all know me. I’ve lived here for 58 years and never done nothing.”

A hazmat team was also called to the scene to investigate the chemicals. Police told Nicotra they searched the home and found chemicals, but there was nothing dangerous.

Other people in the area said that they know Gibbs is a chemist and that he’s a good neighbor.

“I don’t know how this happened. He’s a chemist, so I understand why he had chemicals in the house. But it’s always been like that. He comes over and shows us cool stuff with it,” said Tatiana Thomas.

Nicotra reported that after a thorough search, investigators packed up, ruling that both Gibbs and his home were safe. Wilhelm told WTAE that authorities don’t expect to file charges in connection with the chemicals.

Gibbs said that in spite of the long night, he was never worried.

“I knew everything was fine. There is nothing that’s illegal,” he said.

Posted in Pennsylvania, Response | Leave a comment

Police: Man Cooked Meth In Hotel Room

Gina Gasper | Web Producer
Posted: 9:12 am EDT April 10, 2011
Updated: 9:45 am EDT April 11, 2011

LOWER NAZARETH TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Colonial Regional Police arrested a man after he admitted to cooking methamphetamine in a hotel room in Lower Nazareth Township.

It happened at the Hampton Inn on the Easton Nazareth Highway just before 11:00p.m. Saturday.

Police said fire officials were dispatched to the hotel for a report of a fire alarm going off in room 222.

When officials arrived, they said room was filled with smoke and had a strong chemical smell.

They found one of the occupants of the room, Todd Laudenbach, 37, of Wind Gap, who told them he and another person were cooking meth and the operation had gone wrong.

When police arrived, they found materials for cooking methamphetamine along with a working meth lab inside the hotel room. They also found a small amount of meth in Laudenbach’s pocket.

Laudenbach and another person, Denene Noel, 38, of Saylorsburg were taken into custody and arraigned on several drug charges.

Both were taken to Northampton County Prison in lieu of $200,000 bail. EmailPrint

Copyright 2011 WFMZ. All rights reserved.

Posted in General, Pennsylvania | Leave a comment

Explosion, crash on I-90 near Erie, Pa.

Two tractor trailers collided closing the I-90
Updated: Monday, 11 Apr 2011, 11:09 AM EDT
Published : Monday, 11 Apr 2011, 11:09 AM EDT

Nancy Sanders
ERIE, PA. – In Pennsylvania, the Erie County’s Coroner’s Office responded to the scene of an accident involving two tractor-trailers on Interstate 90.

The accident reportedly occured shortly after 8 a.m. on I-90 near the Route 89 interchange. State police said reports indicate that the tractor-trailers were carrying corrosive materials and that at least one of the trucks exploded.

The eastbound lanes of Interstate 90 are closed from Exit 41, Route 89, to Exit 45, Route 20. Motorists are being directed to take Route 89 north to Route 20 east to Exit 45.


Posted in Pennsylvania, Response | Leave a comment

Chemical Vapor Sickens 2 Workers, Prompts Evacuation Of Building

Kyle Andersen | Web Producer
Posted: 10:52 am EDT April 8, 2011
Updated: 4:41 pm EDT April 8, 2011

NESQUEHONING, Pa. — A chemical vapor sickened two people and prompted the evacuation of their coworkers Friday morning.

Police told 69 News that an ambulance was dispatched around 9:40 for the report of a sick man at Ametek on Route 54 in Nesquehoning, Carbon County.

Police said the ambulance crew arrived to find two men, both Ametek employees, having trouble breathing.

Police said the workers had just unloaded a container of maleic anhydride from a trailer backed up to the warehouse portion of the company’s building. Police said the compound came in contact with water in the trailer and released a vapor that sickened the workers.

Both men were taken to the hospital for treatment, but they were released a short time later.

Police said the building was evacuated for about four hours while firefighters and a hazardous materials team took care of the incident.

According to its website, the Ametek plant in Nesquehoning makes electric motors and electronic instruments.

Copyright 2011 WFMZ. All rights reserved.

Posted in Pennsylvania, Response | Leave a comment

Police seek information on suspicious car in ‘soda bomb’ incident

Posted: Apr 07, 2011 8:53 AM EDT
Updated: Apr 07, 2011 8:53 AM EDT
By Myles Snyder

LEBANON, Pa. (WHTM) – Investigators of a “soda bomb” incident in Lebanon County said they are seeking information on a suspicious car.

North Cornwall Township police said a black Chevrolet Cobalt with a small rear spoiler was seen in the 100 block of Royal Road at around the time of the incident Tuesday evening.

Two or three teenagers between 15 and 18 years of age were in the car, police said.

Township police Chief Todd Hirsch said burn marks and remnants of the exploded soda bomb were found Wednesday morning in a mailbox. Investigators believe it was placed there at around 8:30 p.m. the night before.

Todd Hirsch said the soda bomb was a mixture of household cleaners and aluminum foil that had been placed in a plastic bottle, which eventually exploded due to gas pressure caused by the chemical reaction.

Police have advised residents to contact them immediately if they find suspicious bottles due to the risk of explosion.

Posted in Pennsylvania | Leave a comment

Pa. Firefighters May Be Forced to Pay for Training

Tricia Pursell – The Daily Item, Sunbury, Pa.

Posted: Tue, 03/29/2011 – 12:23am
Updated: Tue, 03/29/2011 – 09:48am

March 28–Crucial firefighter training has been free ever since most Valley emergency responders can remember, but that’s changing.

With state funding slowly being directed elsewhere, local all-volunteer companies — already strapped for cash and facing decreasing numbers — may soon be forced to pay for their own training.

Fire officials are not sure how they will handle the extra costs, but are studying solutions that include company consolidations.

Most public safety training is provided by community colleges, such as Harrisburg Area, Bucks County and Luzerne County.

But safety training has ended up on the back burner as more and more people are going to back to school for job training to cope with the rough economy.

The cost for public safety classes had been reimbursed to individuals through money available for full-time equivalency programs. That money is now being funneled from the state Department of Education directly to the community colleges, and it is up to the colleges to determine how the money is spent.

“Our concern is that as more money is used for other programs, there will be less and less money for public safety programs,” said George Stapleton, administrator for the Office of the State Fire Commissioner. “We do have a concern where it could get to the point where it becomes so expensive, that training isn’t being conducted because they can’t afford it.”

“I do foresee it coming down the road,” agreed Erik Markley, Beaver Springs fire chief, of the added strain on funding efforts. He said he is “crossing his fingers” on his company continuing to receive a state fire grant that is available every year to volunteer fire companies.

Derick Shambach, Snyder County’s EMA coordinator, said, “We’ve been in contact with the fire commissioner and some different universities that we use for instruction. We’re not exactly sure yet how it’s going to affect everything.”

But he knows things won’t be the same for very long.

“I’m under the impression at this point, that the days of instructors coming out and doing a class for free, paid by the university, are pretty much over.”

There are ways to minimize costs if an entire department books a class, usually limited to 30 people at one time.

“We’re exploring everything we can to either keep the cost nothing or very minimal for each individual person or for each company,” Shambach said. “They are volunteers; they make their money through fundraisers.”

Sunbury has about 75 active firefighters in six stations. According to Fire Chief Dean Weirick, the city has standard operating guidelines with two requirements for firefighters: HAZMAT training that is mandatory at the federal level, and 166 hours of basic essentials training.

This is the first year that HAZMAT training requires the purchase of textbooks at $60 each.

A firefighter training program in Bucks County, according to John “Jack” Grove, deputy chief for Hummels Wharf, will begin charging this summer. Harrisburg Area Community College is the process of setting up contracts to charge for its courses. So far, Luzerne County is the only college that does not charge for training — but that likely won’t last for long.

Grove said the Hummels Wharf company is looking at the option to buy 200 hours of training for $800 a year at the Bucks County program.

“We’ve talked to county commissioners, the Fire Chief’s Association — and hopefully among all of us we can put together the money to at least pay for 200 hours.”

While there is no state requiement that firefighters need to have formal training, Grove said they prefer at least some training in order to help around the station.

At Mifflinburg Hose Company, it is required that firefighters receive the minimum level of training available, although most of the current volunteers are certified, said Fire Chief John Heiges.

“They’ll never pay for (training) themselves,” he said. “The department would find a way to pay for it.”

In Beaver Springs, Markley said regular training is held at the station on Monday nights. But it’s not with a formal instructor. Those who have had the training share what they have learned with the newer members.

“We feel we get the message across in a safe manner,” he said.

Stapleton said, however, that there are constant, continuing demands on fire departments.

“Training has evolved to where there are standards that need to be made to have a safe and trained firefighter,” he said.

Their concern is that with added costs for training, those standards will be impacted.

The only positive in all of this, if there is any positive at all, Markley said, is through money that volunteer fire companies can receive through the Fireman’s Relief Fund, which can be used for training expenses.

“Which is fine,” he said, “but that money is also used for a number of other things, such as purchasing equipment or vehicles.”

Stapleton acknowledged the financial squeeze.

“They have to prioritize,” he said.

Posted in Pennsylvania, Training | Leave a comment