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AMMONIUM NITRATE CONCERNS ADDRESSED

BY PHILLIP WILIAMS

GILMER--State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy told an audience of area firefighters, emergency personnel, and business representatives how to try to prevent the type of ammonium nitrate explosion and fire that killed 15 people in the city of West last year.

Connealy also discussed what to do if such an event occurs, and firefighter safety in general, as one of three participants in a 2-hour, 6-minute presentation. The other speakers among the approximately 25 persons present included Asst. State Fire Marshal Kelly Kistner and Alan Dillon of the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service.

Representatives of the Gilmer, Pritchett and West Mountain fire departments, and of the Texas Dept. of Public Safety, attended. Connealy said his office is making presentations in all Texas counties where ammonium nitrate is known to be stored because he wanted to "make sure that we learn from" the explosion of the West Fertilizer Plant.

The State Fire Marshal said ammonium nitrate is stored at one location in Gladewater and one in Longview and at one business in Upshur County. 

On storing the material, he said, "It's hard to get in trouble following the best practices. . .We need to make sure people have that basic knowledge."

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is a source for such information, and it recommends a "one-hour fire barrier" from where ammonium nitrate is stored, and having fire extinguishers, said Connealy. "We've got to keep fire from ammonium nitrate," which is a component for explosives and an oxidizer, he pointed out.

Other safety recommendations include storing the material in a non-combustible structure which has sprinklers, he said. Had the facility in West had sprinklers, the fire never would have reached the ammonium nitrate, he said.

Earlier, Connealy and Kistner discussed the April 17, 2013 fertilizer plant explosion that rocked the small town of West, killing 10 firefighters, two first responders from an Emergency Medical Technician class, and three civilians, as well as causing more than $100 million in damages.

Connelay said investigation into the blaze is ongoing and "we may never know what completely caused the fire." Earlier, Kistner said a media report that a rail car loaded with ammonium nitrate caused it was false.

Kistner also said that out of respect to the victims' families, the men would not discuss operations and tactics used there because the report on the incident has not yet been released. But noting that state and federal agencies dealt with the tragedy, he said, "Your town could double (in population) overnight with just the number of responders."

"We counted 100 pieces of apparatus sitting in an open field," Kistner said. He also said some 30 law enforcement agencies were involved in dealing with the disaster, and that officers stood post 24 hours a day, seven days weekly, because the site was considered a crime scene.

Kistner also warned that emergency personnel must deal with citizens who cannot safely go back to their homes for a time after such an incident. He additionally said regular press briefings must be held, and that two a day were held in West.

Connealy noted citizens can type in their zip code on the internet to see if ammonium nitrate is stored in their area.

In discussing safety for firefighters, Dillon cautioned against making decisons based on emotion and said, "Keep your eyes open and your ears up." 

He said sometimes, the proper course is to evacuate citizens and let something burn.

Connealy became animated in recounting incidents in which Texas firefighters have died, and in counseling against certain actions. He said firefighters need to calculate "risk versus gain" of possible action at a fire scene, and decide if there is anyone "viable to save. What's the glory in rescuing a dead body? They're already dead."

The State Fire Marshal also said fire departments need to develop physical fitness standards since the number one cause of death of firefighters while fighting blazes is natural causes--heart attacks and strokes.

 

Mr. & Miss GHS Named

Michaela Ellis & Peyton Passmore were named Mr. & Miss GHS Saturday night during GHS Spotlight celebration. (Pick up next week's Gladewater Mirror to see the rest if the Spotlight honorees)

TxDOT introduces “Please Be Seated” Hotline

Citizens can call hotline to report unrestrained children in vehicles

 Each year more children are killed or injured in vehicle crashes than by any disease.  Most of these casualties can be prevented by having children properly secured in the latest safety seats when riding in vehicles.  This is why the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is introducing the “Please Be Seated” hotline (903-799-1400) for citizens to call when they see a child riding unrestrained in a vehicle.

“We are not law enforcement, so we can’t write them out a ticket, but we will send them a letter explaining the dangers of not having their children properly restrained in their vehicle and remind them that they can be ticketed if children are seen riding in their vehicle not in a car seat,” said Irene Webster, Traffic Safety Specialist for TxDOT in the Atlanta District.

“Hotline callers must have the vehicle license number and a description of the vehicle.  Other beneficial information would include the location of the sighting (highway number, street name, town, etc.), date and time the offense was observed, how many children were observed unrestrained, sex of the driver, etc.,” Webster said.  “The person then just needs to call 903-799-1400 and leave a message with all pertinent information or they can e-mail me atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or can text me at 512-658-2467.”

Callers can remain anonymous and do not have to leave their name or contact information if they do not want.

 

“Anyone that doesn’t have a car seat or cannot afford one, there are several safety seat distribution programs and certified technicians available to assist them with getting one and instructing them on how to properly install the seat in their vehicle and secure their child in the seat.  To get more information about car seats, they can call the hotline or my office phone at 903-799-1221,” Webster said.

ELITE Pathfinders Honored

The 5th Annual  banquet, sponsored by the Red Rock Historical Association, was held Saturday night at the Gladewater Former Students Association Building, with six people recognized for their committment and service to community. Those honored included: Todd Clifton - "Example," Calvin Frierson - "Inspiration," Harold Wells - "Leader," Martell Williams - "Erudite", Arielle Wiliams - " Pathfinder," and Margaret Bell - "Triumph." (See more photos in the Gladewater Mirror.)

FEBRUARY IS BLACK HISTORY MONTH

BEARS HEADED TO ETBU

Congratulations to Gladewater Bears Justin Stadtfeld and Clint Sorrells, who signed Wednesday to play football next year at East Texas Baptist University.

GREGG COUNTY GRAND JURY FOR THE 188TH DISTRICT COURT JANUARY-JUNE TERM

GRAND JURY FOR THE 188TH DISTRICT COURT

JANUARY-JUNE TERM JANUARY 29TH & 30TH, 2014

 

 

GRAND JURY RETURNED 56 INDICTMENT WITH 14 SEALED DUE TO NO ARREST AT TIME OF INDICTMENT.

 

DEFENDANT

OFFENSE

OFFICER / WITNESS

JERRY GALLEGOS (32)

 

LONGVIEW, TX.

FORGERY

11.18.13

 

JAYLEEN SHAQUILLE PATTERSON (19)

 

LONGVIEW, T X.

BURGLARY OF A HABITATION

10.15.13

 

LADADRIAN DEONTAE KING (18)

 

LONGVIEW, TX.

BURGLARY OF A HABITATION

10.15.13

 

FRANCISCO BENITEZ (20)

 

LONGVIEW, TX.

AGGRAVATED ROBBERY

10.20.13

 

GENARO VILLELA (18)

 

LONGVIEW, TX.

AGGRAVATED ROBBERY

10.20.13

 

TERENCE JERONE TURNER (27)

 

LONGVIEW, TX.

ORGANIZED RETAIL THEFT IN AN AMOUNT OF $1,500 OR MORE BUT LESS THAN $20,000;

ORGANIZED RETAIL THEFT IN AN AMOUNT OF $500 OR MORE BUT LESS THAN $1,500

12.23.13

 

ASHANTI DRAPER (25)

 

SHREVEPORT, LA.

ORGANIZED RETAIL THEFT IN AN AMOUNT OF $1,500 OR MORE BUT LESS THAN $20,000;

ORGANIZED RETAIL THEFT IN AN AMOUNT OF $500 OR MORE BUT LESS THAN $1,500

12.23.13

 

DONALD RAY DUDLEY (50)

 

LONGVIEW, TX.

THEFT HABITUAL

12.18.13

 

TIFFANY NICHOLE KING (29)

 

LONGVIEW, TX.

DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED 3RD OR MORE

11.20.13

 

CRYSTAL SLACK STAPLES (38)

 

OVERTON, TX.

ASSAULT AGAINST A PUBLIC SERVANT

12-01-2013

 

CHASE ALLEN MCCLELLAND (18)

 

GLADEWATER, TX.

BURGLARY OF A HABITATION

09-15-2012

 

KAMREN KYLE HIGGINBOTHAM (33)

 

LONGVIEW, TX.

AGGRAVATED ASSAULT

10-29-2013

 

WAYNETTA MARIA JACKSON (37)

 

OVERTON, TX.

THEFT HABITUAL

11-08-2013

 

DEEDRICK SHAMON PEGUES; A/K/A DEEDRICK SHAMON JOHNSON (29)

 

GLADEWATER, TX.

THEFT HABITUAL

11-18-2013

 

RODNEY DALE BECHTOLD (40)

 

LONGVIEW, TX.

ASSAULT FAMILY VIOLENCE BY IMPEDING BREATH OR BLOOD

11.3.13

 

JAQUAVIOUS WILLIAMS (19)

 

LONGVIEW, TX.

EVADING ARREST/DETENTION WITH PREVIOUS CONVICTION

12.13.13

 

LEON MARTINEZ (42)

 

LONGVIEW TX.

ASSAULT-FAMILY VIOLENCE; ENHANCED

10.03.13

 

ESTEBAN DANIEL PITMAN (30)

 

LONGVIEW, TX.

CONTINUOUS VIOLENCE AGAINST THE FAMILY

5.28.13 &

10.25.13

 

MOSES HENRY SAUM (35)

 

LONGVIEW, TX.

AGGRAVATED ASSAULT FAMILY VIOLENCE

11.8.13

 

BILLY LEE YOUNG (23)

 

LONGVIEW, TX.

ASSAULT FAMILY VIOLENCE BY IMPEDING BREATH OR BLOOD;

ASSAULT FAMILY VIOLENCE ENHANCED

11.14.13

 

 

 

 

 

 

JEFFERY JACKSON (37)

 

LONGVIEW, TX.

ASSAULT-FAMILY VIOLENCE ENHANCED

12.7.13

 

DAVID NEAL BRAY (24)

 

LONGVIEW, TX.

ASSAULT FAMILY VIOLENCE ENHANCED

11.11.13

&

11.25.13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALON DEL MOSLEY (61)

 

KILGORE, TX.

ASSAULT-FAMILY VIOLENCE

12.22.13

 

CRYSTAL NICOLE DUNCAN (32)

 

KILGORE, TX.

DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED 3RD OR MORE

11.20.12

 

GEORGE LOVELL SHEPPARD,  IV (29)

 

KILGORE, TX.

FORGERY

10-09-2013

 

LORENA CLY (45)

 

HENDERSON, TX.

DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED WITH CHILD PASSENGER

12-14-2012

 

LASHAWNA LEIGH WALSH (32)

 

HENDERSON, TX.

DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED WITH CHILD PASSENGER

01-30-2013

 

GRAIGORY ADAM GARRETT (25)

 

SHREVEPORT, LA.

POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE WITH INTENT TO DELIVER

12-04-2012

 

OLLIE QUINN NYMAN, III (25)

 

SHREVEPORT, LA.

POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE WITH INTENT TO DELIVER

12-04-2012

 

MILTON GENE MURPHY (62)

 

HENDERSON, TX.

POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE

12-02-2011

 

CORNELIUS MURPHY (22)

 

 

HENDERSON, TX.

POSSESSION OF MARIHUANA

12-02-2011

 

KEENA COOPER (29)

 

GLADEWATER, TX.

THEFT; UNAUTHORIZED USE OF A MOTOR-PROPELLED VEHICLE

05-04-2013

&

05-05-2013

 

KEENA COOPER (29)

 

GLADEWATER, TX.

POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE

5.05.13

 

NATHAN DANIEL SHULTZ (28)

 

MARSHALL, TX.

POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE

09-10-2013

 

RODNEYCANTRELL TATUM (17)

 

LONGVIEW, TX.

EVADING ARREST OR DETENTION HABITUAL

12.27.13

 

MARVIN NORMAN GREENING (43)

 

LUFKIN, TX.

BURGLARY OF A HABITATION;

EVADING ARREST OR DETENTION WITH A VEHICLE

12.18.13

 

IRVING ISAAC MARTINEZ (23)

 

LONGVIEW, TX.

BURGLARY OF A HABITATION

7.18.2013

 

CHRISTOPHER LYNN GIPSON (22)

 

LONGVIEW, TX.

BURGLARY OF A HABITATION

11.26.13

 

JOHN HOUSTON BROWN

 

KILGORE, TX.

UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF A FIREARM BY FELON

12.19.13

 

LISA MICHELLE FLEMING (32)

 

WINONA, TX.

POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE

10.17.13

 

RODNEY DALE BECHTOLD (40)

 

LONGVIEW, TX.

EVADING ARREST OR DETENTION WITH A VEHICLE

11.3.13

 

ROBERT DEERING (35)

 

GLADEWATER, TX.

THEFT OF PROPERTY OVER THE VALUE OF $20,000 BUT LESS THAN $100,000

01.02.14