http://www.times-standard.com/ci_14161529?source=most_viewed Picking up the pieces, assessing the damage The Times-Standard Posted: 01/10/2010 12:24:20 PM PST Humboldt County continues today to pick up the pieces from Saturday's earthquake with some businesses reopening and officials working on assessing the damage. The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office has received reports of one broken bone due to a fall during the 6.5-magnitude earthquake and various minor injuries such as bruising, spokeswoman Brenda Godsey said. County and city officials are currently working on damage assessments -- the process takes time and officials had to wait until daylight to start. ...descriptions of other damages removed... She also said that the department was readying its Haz-Mat team shortly before noon to go to College of the Redwoods, where the department had received reports of strong odors coming from the campus' biology lab and chemical storage unit. === http://www.thedailyworld.com/articles/2010/01/09/local_news/doc4b483eebd12 68575024030.txt Washington State Imperium releases report on explosion BY JACOB JONES The Daily World Saturday, January 9, 2010 4:58 PM PST Dan Jackson Company pledges safety improvements, new training Imperium Renewables has vowed to install new safety equipment after a company investigation determined a chemical reaction over-pressurized a mixing tank, causing the Dec. 2 explosion at the Hoquiam biodiesel plant. The company announced Friday investigators believe an increase of sulfuric acid into a glycerin neutralization tank created an =93unexpected=94 exothermic reaction. The reaction over-pressurized the 10,000 gallon tank, which exploded, sending booming sounds across the Harbor and pieces of the tank flying. =93Personnel were unaware of the potential for such a reaction,=94 spokesman John Williams wrote in the release, =93and the processing equipment itself was not designed with physical or mechanical safeguards to prevent an oversupply of sulfuric acid.=94 Imperium CEO John Plaza said in the release the company is planning to install new mechanical safeguards to prevent a similar increase in the acid ratio from reacting in the future. =93We are taking steps to make sure this cannot, and does not, ever happen again,=94 he said. The company explained glycerin is a by-product of biodiesel production. The chemical, which is a black powdery substance, is often mixed with sulfuric acid to restore its pH level to neutral before it can be resold. =93When mixed in the recommended ratio, the chemical reaction does not pose a safety threat,=94 Williams wrote. =93On Dec. 2, Imperium personnel mixed sulfuric acid in a much higher ratio, which created the exothermic reaction.=94 The state Department of Labor & Industries continues its own workplace safety investigation, which could take several months to complete. A spokesman said he could not confirm if the department had received an investigation report from the company. Williams wrote the JH Kelly construction firm is repairing damage to the facility. The explosion ruptured a nearby sulfuric acid tank, allowing about 500 gallons of the corrosive chemical to leak into safety basins surrounding the tank. Environmental officials found no health or safety impacts on nearby homes, businesses or habitat. JH Kelly workers will also install a new glycerin tank system that includes mechanical safeguards against a similar oversupply of sulfuric acid, Williams wrote. Imperium workers will also undergo new training and safety instructions. =93We are working hard to install and test the new equipment as fast as we can, but not at the expense of safety,=94 Plaza said in the release. =93We won=92t start the facility until we are confident that it runs as designed.=94 The new system is expected to go into place quickly, Williams wrote, but the plant will not resume production until it sees an improvement in the biodiesel market. The plant had recently restarted production last fall after laying off staff and suspending operations in early 2009. Though the company has not released any time estimates for restarting its refinery operations, Plaza said in the release that an extension on biodiesel tax credits and continued enforcement of renewable fuel standards may be the only hope of maintaining demand for production. =93Without action on both issues,=94 he said, =93we likely won=92t see enough demand to restart the facility.=94 === West Virginia http://sundaygazettemail.com/News/201001090168 January 9, 2010 Bayer cited for MIC tank violations By Ken Ward Jr. CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Bayer CropScience has not properly maintained or tested the underground storage tank where it keeps roughly 200,000 pounds of methyl isocyanate, the deadly chemical that killed thousands of people in Bhopal, India, in 1984, state inspectors have alleged. Department of Environmental Protection inspectors issued four citations to Bayer for alleged mismanagement of the MIC tank. Inspectors discovered the problem during a June 2009 inspection, and formal violation notices were issued in late September. No fines have been issued, and DEP officials said last week they don't know if Bayer has fixed the problems. Tom Dover, a Bayer spokesman, said in an e-mailed response that the company "is in discussions" with DEP and wanted to "emphasize that the integrity of the referenced tanks is not in question, nor is the safe storage of our materials." But officials from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, who reviewed the DEP violation notices at the Sunday Gazette-Mail's request, said the allegations concerned them. "It doesn't give us a warm and fuzzy feeling," board Chairman John Bresland said Friday. "I would have thought if you were dealing with a tank containing methyl isocyanate, you would always want to have the best practices in place." CSB investigators have been examining the Institute plant's operations in the wake of the August 2008 explosion and fire that killed two plant workers and forced thousands of Kanawha Valley residents to take shelter in their homes. For years, the Institute facility has been the only one in the nation to store large quantities of MIC onsite. Last April, congressional investigators concluded the explosion could have easily damaged a nearby MIC storage tank and triggered a disaster that would have been worse than Bhopal. CSB officials described the incident as "potentially a serious near miss, the results of which might have been catastrophic for workers, responders and the public." In late August, as the one-year anniversary of the deadly explosion in Institute neared, Bayer announced it was cutting its MIC storage by about 80 percent. After the changes, Bayer hopes to keep its daily maximum MIC inventory below 50,000 pounds -- still far more than any other chemical plant in the nation. === Indiana http://www.wndu.com/hometop/headlines/81083572.html A Goshen family loses their new home to a fire, after moving in just hours before. A huge blaze broke out early Saturday morning on the east side of Goshen, destroying the entire house. A family of four managed to get out okay, but lost everything. The Yates family can't believe they lost their new rental home, that they=92d only slept in half a night. =93Just brought the furniture over the night,=94 said Russell Yates. =93Got it in where it goes and everything.=94 Russell says his wife was cleaning up after a painting project, when she dropped a cigarette on some flammable chemical. =93Everything was just coming along just great, and then it was taken away in just a flash,=94 Russell said. The fire took over, burning the house down within a few minutes =93I was watching the glass just melt down and I knew there was nothing you could do,=94 said Jeremy Yates, Russell=92s son. =93The smoke was incredible. Ran outside in my boxers and pretty much saw a 15-foot flame,=94 said Dustin Yates, Russell=92s other son. =93It was so hot, happened so fast, had no idea,=94 said Russell. =93First fire I've ever been. Hope to God I'm never in another one.=94 Firefighters had to work for four hours to get the blaze out, and informed the family the entire home was destroyed. Meaning they lost almost everything. =93I've still got my family though, that's the main thing, the main thing, all still alive,=94 said Russell. Red Cross helped the family with food and clothes. The family says firefighters were also very generous and made clothing donations. The Yates family is staying with relatives for now. If you would like to help the Yates family, you can contact Frank Connolly with the Red Cross at (574) 293-6510. You can also email Connolloy at frankc**At_Symbol_Here**elkhartredcross.org. Or you can call the Yates family at (260) 499-0172.
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