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Two injured in explosion, fire at titanium casting plant near Albany
ALBANY, Ore. - Two employees of a titanium casting manufacturer were injured in an explosion and fire at the plant Thursday morning.

One of the injured is listed in critical condition at a Portland hospital.

Tangent Rural Fire District and Albany Fire Department responded just before 8 a.m. to Selmet Inc at 33992 Seven Mile Lane.

"The 911 caller reported an explosion in the Foundry Building and subsequent fire," fire officials said in a statement. "Over 30 fire crew members responded and were able to extinguish the fire and determine there was no chemical hazard to the employees or the public."
us_OR  industrial  explosion  injury  titanium 
7 days ago by dchas
Otis Cafe fire caused by ‘spontaneous combustion,’ investigator says
Investigators said the Otis Cafe, a popular roadside restaurant just outside Lincoln City, burned down July 4th when improperly stored kitchen waste in a plastic bucket spontaneously combusted.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal released more information Tuesday on the blaze at the pit-stop on Oregon 18 a few miles northeast of Lincoln City.
us_or  fire  public  response  combustibles 
9 days ago by dchas
Divers located toxic barrels in Wallowa Lake
JOSEPH — It wasn't just an ordinary dive for Lisa Anderson and William Lambert, who always go looking for items in the bottom of Wallowa Lake. This one just happened to be a little different.

Anderson and Lambert, members of Blue Mountain Divers, a nonprofit scuba diving organization that seeks to find, recover, and preserve historic and archeological objects that are now at the bottoms of lakes and rivers, were scuba diving in the south end of Wallowa Lake near the marina in August 2018 where the water deepens abruptly. Working at depths of 50 to 120 feet, where the water deepens abruptly just north of the marina, they found a metal milk jug, and a couple of other odds and ends.

Then the duo saw the barrels.

They bore labels that said "2, 4-D or 2, 4, 5-T WEED KILLER."

“There were about 25, 55-gallon drums, and a dozen bigger 100-gallon barrels,” said Blue Mountain Divers member Lisa Anderson. “It looked as though they had been there for a while — 10, 20 years or more. The smaller drums were corroded, and whatever was in them had probably already leaked out. But the big ones were sturdier. They seemed to be intact.”
us_OR  public  discovery  response  pesticides 
11 weeks ago by dchas
Batteries, electronics light up local landfill
This month, Short Mountain experienced two fires in one weekend, prompting a visit from South Lane County Fire & Rescue. It was the largest Strunk has seen in the past three years, he said.

Strunk said lithium batteries, coupled with a streak of dry, hot days, were the likely culprits of the fires. Lithium-ion and lithium polymer batteries are often encased in a soft pouch. The batteries are likely punctured when run over and compacted at the landfill, causing air to reach the battery, and a chemical reaction that leads to sparks, fire and sometimes explosions. The fire also produces toxic smoke to boot.

"There is a good possibility something hot came into the landfill - bar-b-que ashes, potentially a battery ignited, and (the landfill) just started to smoulder for a couple of weeks," Strunk said. "As things dried out, when the conditions were right, (the battery) was able to ignite."

At times, there have been as many as four fires per day at the Glenwood Transfer Station and Short Mountain Landfill due to improperly disposed of materials.
us_OR  industrial  fire  response  batteries  plastics  waste 
may 2019 by dchas
Acid spill forces evacuation at Precision Castparts in Milwaukie
MILWAUKIE, OR (KPTV) – Hundreds of Precision Castparts employees in Milwaukie were forced to evacuate Wednesday afternoon after a reported acid spill, according to fire officials.

Firefighters rushed to the scene off Johnson Creek Road where they say a 1,400-gallon truck carrying nitric acid and hydrochloric acid was leaking. A hazmat team also responded and remained on scene after the incident was recalled.

About 600 employees were evacuated from the Precision Castparts building, Clackamas Fire District #1 says. The evacuation was temporary and no injuries were reported.
us_OR  transportation  release  response  acids 
may 2019 by dchas
Firefighters battle chemical fire at a Lebanon Walmart Superstore
Firefighters and a HazMat team responded to a two-alarm chemical fire Tuesday afternoon at a Lebanon Walmart Superstore. 

The Lebanon Fire District responded to the fire around 1 p.m. after there were reports of smoke coming from the building and customers were being evacuated, according to a release from the fire district.  

Authorities said the fire originated in an aisle where several types of chemicals were stored, causing the entire store to become saturated with chemical-filled smoke.

The sprinkler system in the store kept the fire from expanding, but crews had to use a thermal imagining camera to locate the fire because of the large amount of smoke, according to the release.  

Crews used a hose line to extinguish the flames. 

Fire officials are still investigating the cause. No injuries were reported.  
us_OR  public  fire  response  unknown_chemical 
may 2019 by dchas
Critics warn chlorpyrifos ban would set dangerous precedent
Critics of a proposed ban on chlorpyrifos insecticides in Oregon argue the bill would not only harm farmers but also set a dangerous legislative precedent.

Supporters of House Bill 2619 argue that it’s necessary for Oregon lawmakers to take action due to uncertainty about the chemical’s regulation at the federal level.

A prohibition on spraying food crops with chlorpyrifos was proposed by the Obama administration but reversed by the Trump administration in 2017.

The federal government’s regulation of the pesticide is currently the subject of a legal fight before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that chlorpyrifos must be banned last year but has more recently reconsidered that decision.
us_OR  public  discovery  environmental  ag_chems 
may 2019 by dchas
Fire forces evacuations at Tualatin warehouse
TUALATIN, Ore. — 
A Tualatin warehouse was evacuated Thursday evening as hazmat crews assessed the scene of a commercial fire.
There were no known injuries at the warehouse on Southwest 115th Avenue.
Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue says it thinks lithium batteries may have started the fire.
Firefighters said someone from inside the business told them a new product test on six large lithium-ion batteries was being conducted and the batteries were on fire.
They say sprinklers knocked down most of it before they got there.
us_OR  industrial  fire  response  batteries 
april 2019 by dchas
Oregon Herbicide Ban Slowed By Chemical Company Appeal . News
A conifer tree-killing herbicide would have been banned from Oregon roadsides this month, but the rule has been delayed by a request from chemical giant, Bayer AG.

Perhaps best known for aspirin, Bayer also makes agricultural products like Perspective, an herbicide once commonly used to control weeds and reduce fire risk along highways. The active ingredient, ACP, is behind killing about 2,100 ponderosa pines in Deschutes National Forest near Sisters, Oregon.

Poisoned Pines In Central Oregon To Be Cut
The product label says not to apply it near “desirable” roots— a warning that came after a wave of tree deaths were linked to ACP in 2011. But as one product made by DuPont was pulled off the market, Bayer launched a different brand. 

That’s the stuff state contractors working for the Oregon Department of Transportation sprayed outside of Sisters until 2015. Last year, complaints about dead and dying trees led the Oregon Department of Agriculture to launch an investigation and order a temporary stop to ACP applications on road sides and rights of way.
us_OR  public  discovery  environmental  ag_chems  pesticides 
march 2019 by dchas
Lab Fire follow up at Oregon State
The College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science is still reeling from the damage caused by a fire in Burt Hall that took place at the end of fall term, and subsequent efforts to evaluate and repair the damaged portion of the building reach far and wide across the university.

The fire started in a scientific microwave, in a laboratory on the second floor of Burt 2, on Friday, Nov. 30. The “2” indicates the specific section of Burt Hall, of which there are four.

According to Jim Patton, fire prevention officer at Oregon State University, Burt Hall,as well as a number of other older buildings around campus, are not equipped with fire sprinklers, which could have helped mitigate the damage done by the fire. Fire codes and other safety regulations in place at the time of these buildings’ construction did not mandate the inclusion of fire sprinklers and they have not since been updated. Current regulations allow these buildings to be grandfathered in because of these differences, making the buildings technically in compliance with the current rules.
us_OR  laboratory  follow-up  response  unknown_chemical 
january 2019 by dchas
Intel releases new statement on possible toxic exposure incident
HILLSBORO, Ore. – Intel released a new statement Wednesday morning saying the company has determined it’s safe for workers to return to the Ronler Acres campus that has been closed since Dec. 3, when 22 people were treated for possible toxic exposure.
Intel says during the incident, some people reported an odor that the company later determined was coming from its air handling units, which it uses to regulate air intake into the building.
The company says the odor does not represent a health risk, but it is making changes to its system to address the smell.
On Dec. 3, Hillsboro firefighters treated multiple patients after receiving a call for people experiencing "light irritation of their respiratory systems" at Intel’s Ronler Acres campus. A hazmat unit also responded to the scene.
us_OR  industrial  follow-up  environmental 
december 2018 by dchas
Mystery persists over Intel hazmat scare
Investigators remain “befuddled” over a pair of hazardous materials scares that prompted Intel to evacuate part of its Ronler Acres campus in Hillsboro and sent 21 people to local hospitals.

Intel closed down a 400,000-square-foot manufacturing support building Monday due to a second health scare in just four days, and the facility remained closed Tuesday. The company said workers reported “respiratory irritation” and “minor breathing difficulty.”

Emergency responders treated at least three dozen people in Monday’s incident, only six of whom went to the hospital. None were reported to have experienced serious health problems, and Washington County officials have said there is no indication of any hazardous material exposure outside the building.

Intel said it doesn’t expect the incident or the closure will have a material impact on its Oregon production. The company said it continues to investigate.

Nathan Leek, division chief with the Hillsboro Fire Department, said neither his experts nor Intel’s have been able to determine what caused the workers’ symptoms.

“What we are being told is they have detected nothing that has shown up on their detectors as a concern,” Leek said. “They were a little befuddled as what could have caused this irritant.”
us_OR  industrial  release  injury  unknown_chemical 
december 2018 by dchas
11 taken to hospital after possible chemical exposure at Intel's Ronler Acres campus
HILLSBORO, Ore. – 11 people were taken to the hospital with breathing difficulties Thursday after a possible toxic exposure at an Intel plant in Hillsboro.
Hillsboro Fire later said there was no HazMat release at Intel.
The incident was reported at about 4:15 p.m. at the Ronler Acres campus off of Evergreen Parkway.
According to Hillsboro Fire, 11 people were taken to the hospital for evaluations after they reported breathing difficulties.
At this point, Hillsboro Fire said they are not sure of what chemical is involved or where it came from.
us_OR  industrial  release  injury  unknown_chemical 
november 2018 by dchas
Four of five students released from hospital after exposure to large amount of chlorine in Newberg
NEWBERG, Ore. — Six young people were treated and five were taken to hospitals after they were exposed to a large amount of chlorine at an aquatic center in Newberg on Tuesday morning.

A press release from Sherwood School District sent to KGW shortly after 2 p.m. said "four of the five students have been released from the hospital, and the fifth student is expected to be released today after additional observation."

Crews responded to the Chehalem Aquatic and Fitness Center, at 1802 Haworth Street, around 10:15 a.m., according to Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue.

A high school swim team was practicing when the chlorine was released, firefighters said. The school said the coach of the swim team immediately removed the students from the pool and called 911.

"We commend the quick actions of the coach in addressing student health and safety," said Christine Andregg, public information officer for Sherwood School District.

The victims, all minors, were complaining of burning eyes, lightheadedness and throat irritation, and noted a strong chemical smell, fire officials said.
us_OR  education  release  injury  chlorine 
november 2018 by dchas
Explosive, radioactive chemicals found in Oregon schools
Decades-old, disintegrating and dangerous chemicals lurk in the back of cupboards and shelves in high schools throughout Oregon.

A state program aims to get them out. For a decade, the Department of Environmental Quality has hired an environmental consultant to examine every bottle and can in science and art classrooms, and paid a hazardous waste disposal company to remove those deemed dangerous.  

Last week alone, a visit to Sweet Home High School resulted in the removal of fully half the containers in the science lab storeroom, the consultant, Dave Waddell, said.

And a visit to North Marion High School ended in an Oregon State Police bomb squad being called to safely remove and destroy two dangerous chemicals.
us_OR  laboratory  discovery  environmental  other_chemical  waste 
november 2018 by dchas
EPA’s ENTACT Study Breaks New Ground with Non-Targeted Research
EPA scientists are leading a multi-phase project to evaluate the ability of non-targeted analysis laboratory methods to consistently and correctly identify unknown chemicals in samples. EPA’s Non-Targeted Analysis Collaborative Trial (ENTACT) was formed in late 2015 and includes nearly 30 academic, government, and industry groups. Non-targeted analysis involves analyzing water, soil and other types of samples to identify unknown chemicals that may be present, without having a preconceived idea of what chemicals may be in the samples.
“One of our main goals is to figure out what scientists are doing with non-targeted analysis as a group at large, particularly which chemicals we correctly identify and why,” says Elin Ulrich, an EPA scientist who co-leads ENTACT with EPA’s Jon Sobus.
ENTACT samples
To conduct the study, the ENTACT team used about 1,200 chemical substances from EPA’s ToxCast library to make 10 liquid mixtures containing 100-400 compounds each. Three types of samples were also used in the study: house dust, human serum (a component of blood), and silicone wristbands. The samples were each spiked with one of the 10 liquid mixtures.
The dust and serum samples were obtained from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and are certified standard reference materials. Oregon State University prepared the wristbands by uniformly exposing them to outdoor air to allow them to absorb airborne environmental pollutants.
us_OR  laboratory  discovery  environmental 
july 2018 by dchas
Ammonia Leak In North Portland Forces Evacuations
Portland, Oregon – Hazmat crews from Portland Fire and Rescue are responding to a chemical leak at the Widmer Brothers Brewery in North Portland. They got the 911 call just after 4am this morning. It’s an ammonia leak, and it’s contained to inside the building’s basement. Newspartner KGW reports that crews say there are no concerns for the nearby area. It’s not toxic enough to cause any problems to the neighborhood. Crews are stopping the leak and venting the building. Workers there reported smelling something overnight and called first responders. It’s unclear if any workers had to go to the hospital.
us_OR  industrial  release  response  ammonia 
july 2018 by dchas
Railcar leaking dangerous chemicals contained, Highway 30 reopen
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -
Fire crews responded to reports of a railcar leaking a chemical similar to paint-thinner Tuesday afternoon in northwest Portland. 

Firefighters rushed to Northwest Yeon Avenue, also known as Highway 30, just after 3 p.m. and closed the road to traffic. 

The road was temporarily closed between Northwest Kittridge Avenue and Northwest 35th Avenue and reopened around 5:30 p.m. Nearby buildings were evacuated, Portland Fire & Rescue said.

A hazmat team also responded. The team stopped the leak a bit before 5 p.m
us_OR  transportation  release  response  solvent 
july 2018 by dchas
OSU wristbands reveal toxins in Houston area
CORVALLIS, Ore. -- When Hurricane Harvey swept through the Houston area last August, it caused devastating floods.

Many residents worried those floodwaters had swept toxic chemicals into their neighborhoods.

It was a concern shared by scientists from Oregon State University.

So in the weeks following the hurricane, they flew down to Houston and passed out hundreds of special chemical absorbing wristbands. Participants wore the wristbands for one week.

Related: Wristband tracks chemicals you're exposed to, and how they affect you

Thirty-two of those participants lived in the Highlands area of Houston near a flooded Superfund site.

"The overarching concern is... are chemical exposures increasing?" asked Peter Hoffman, assistant director of the Food Safety and Environmental Stewardship Program at Oregon State University.

After wearing the wristbands, the participants sent them back to researchers at OSU, who were able to extract the chemicals from the first set.

The findings revealed the residents were being exposed to an unusually high number of chemicals.
us_OR  public  discovery  environmental  toxics 
june 2018 by dchas
Broken thermometer shuts down school
A science teacher’s discovery of a broken mercury thermometer in a drawer at Payette High School led to the school’s closure on Monday.

No students were exposed to mercury when the broken thermometer was discovered in a science classroom at the school.

A teacher noticed the broken mercury thermometer in a drawer as she was cleaning it out. This information was sent in an email to Payette Superintendent Robin Gilbert by high school principal Jason Dransfield at 11:52 a.m. Monday, and at 12:30 p.m., was also sent to parents.

According to the email, the teacher who discovered the broken thermometer reported to administrators that mercury may have spilled inside the drawer.

“Poison control, DEQ, and local fire department were contacted,” Dransfield wrote in his email to Gilbert. “The drawer was sealed shut, students were relocated, the doors to the room were sealed and ventilation to the room was shut off.”

The reason the ventilation was shut off, according to Payette Fire Chief Steve Castenada, was to prevent the mercury spill from becoming airborne, thereby potentially spreading to the rest of the school.
us_OR  education  release  response  mercury 
april 2018 by dchas

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