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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Man Carjacks City Worker, Steals Truck

Man Carjacks City Worker, Steals Truck - News Story -
KCTV Kansas City: Police said a man stole a city water truck worth $200,000 in a carjacking Monday then he slammed it into a tree as police chased him.The carjacking happened Monday afternoon near East 39th and Main streets.
Police pursued the truck to East 43rd Street and Cleveland Avenue, where they said the man wrecked the truck.
He suffered minor injuries, and emergency workers took him away from the scene in an ambulance. Investigators found a large kitchen knife in the van, they said.The city driver was not hurt.The van was equipped with cameras to check underground sewer lines.

Saturday, August 25, 2007



So i was at work today. i was operating a 4000 gallon water truck. it sprays water onto the ground to control dust. it also has a side jet that can shoot about 70 yards with the wind. so right after lunch today the was a fire on freeway 5 at H street in Chula Vista. so i drove to the edge of the job site to see how close it was. it was right on the other side of the freeway. so i drove over the bridge just as the 1st firetruck got there. i asked the fire chief if he could use my water and he said "we can definatley use you". so the 1st water truck ran out of water. their next dilema was the trolley tracks. the nearest fire hydrant was on the other side of the tracks. they would have to shut down the power to the tracks to run the fire hose across the tracks. they had a CHP stop ALL the traffic going north on freeway 5 so i can turn my water truck around to put out the rest of the fire with my side jet. it was so fuckin cool. i wanna be a fireman!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Truck driver killed in north Qld smash

Truck driver killed in north Qld smash - Breaking News - National - Breaking News: "In another northside accident, a 66-year-old woman is being treated for head and neck injuries after a car and a water truck collided at Aspley. The truck is believed to have struck the driver's side door of the woman's vehicle at the intersection of Zillmere Road and Gympie Road about 6.05am (AEST). The woman was trapped inside her vehicle and needed to be removed by Queensland Fire and Rescue officers. She was transported to the Royal Brisbane Hospital with head and neck injuries. The 63-year-old man driving the truck was treated for shock."

Cocoa and Caffeine Hollywood Travels

Cocoa and Caffeine Hollywood Travels:

An Explosive Weekend ( and a need for protective eyewear)

It’s not every day that you exit the freeway to see a sign flashing:


But this is L.A. and the “gunfire and explosions” on an otherwise benign Saturday could be attributed solely to Hancock, a new feature film helmed by Peter Berg and starring Will Smith and Charlize Theron.

Saturday, I worked downtown on another shoot and afterward came by Hancock’s set to witness the huge street stunt they had planned. Amid the high-rises of downtown, Hancock had taken over several streets—a flutter of activity at nearly 1 a.m.

An amazingly, huge crater “iced” with overturned cars had been created in the middle of the street. A water truck continually passed through wetting down the streets as cast, crew, and “looky-loos” waited on the rooftops of adjoining buildings.

With stunts like this, you really only get one shot—so they rehearsed over and over again until BAM! a huge explosion belched cars up into the air and down again as they slammed into each other and skidded every which way. The ensuing black smoke forced me to look away. (Glad I put those sunglasses on as protective eyewear!) When I looked back, a moment later, the street was a mess of debris and thrashed cars. Even to cast and crew and others alike, it was impressive.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

San Bernardino County Water woes abating

San Bernardino County:
Water woes abating

Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 08/12/2007 12:00:00 AM PDT

LUCERNE VALLEY - The water shortage that followed state authorities' recent move to shut down unlicensed water haulers appears to be getting close to ending, officials said.

"It's stabilizing quite well," Doug Lannon, a battalion chief for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said Friday.

Lannon said he arrived in Lucerne Valley on Wednesday evening. At the time, 16 households had run out of water and an additional 45 households had less than a day's worth of water in storage tanks.

"Obviously, it was a pretty emotional issue for a lot of people up here," he said. "It was a pretty significant incident for the people who didn't have water."

Officials called in two contractors who supplied seven water tenders and a water trailer to haul water around the desert, Lannon said.

He said truckers who could not carry water in their own tankers after the enforcement operation rode along with drivers and helped navigate water supplies to thirsty households.

Lucerne Valley High School football players helped fill tankers with well water, and several other community volunteers helped out during the water shortage.

The shortage occurred while temperatures

The water problem began when the state Department of Public Health teamed up with the California Highway Patrol to search for unlicensed water haulers in response to complaints that truckers were providing water without permits.

Many people in Lucerne Valley store water in tanks and rely on truckers to stay supplied with the precious resource.

Public health official Janet Huston acknowledged early last week that authorities did not anticipate the enforcement operation would prevent many desert dwellers from replenishing their water supplies.

In an effort to relieve the water crisis, public health officials elected to allow unlicensed water carriers whose equipment and water supplies did not pose a health hazard to resume deliveries after they applied for licenses.

"There are a lot more haulers here than certified haulers. The mistake the state made was not to give them a warning," said Chuck Bell, a board member of the Lucerne Valley Economic Development Association.

First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt's Web site features listings of carriers who are allowed to deliver water and wells where drinking water can be obtained. The supervisor's Web site is

As of Friday, the supervisor's office listed nine water haulers who have applied for licenses and a quintet of carriers who already possess licenses.

David Zook, the supervisor's spokesman, said people without computers will be able to access and print out online information at the Lucerne Valley Branch Library, 33103 Highway 247.

Lannon said water was delivered to 46 residences Thursday and an additional 67 households received water the following day.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

72-hr briefing of FR 420 - Water Tender Accident

United States Department of Agriculture / Forest Service Peaks Ranger District

5075 N. Highway 89

Flagstaff, AZ 86004-2852

Phone: (928) 526-0866

Fax: (928) 527-8288

Date: July 13, 2007

72-hr briefing of FR 420 - Water Tender Accident


Preliminary factual findings: At approximately 1615 hours on July 09, 2007, the operator of water tender 5 (WCF Unit 7501) was returning to the Schultz fire after filling with 3000 gallons of water in Cheshire. At approximately 1630, while traveling north on FR 420, the water tender operator moved the water tender to the right side of the road to allow several vehicles to pass. After the vehicles passed, the water tender approached a curve in the road and remained on the right side of the road. As the right wheels traveled on the shoulder of the road, the shoulder gave way. As the right front tire began to slide down a ten foot embankment, the operator was able to get the tire back on the road. The rear tires, which support the load, caused the shoulder to give way even more. The momentum of the water in the tank shifting caused the water tender to slide down the embankment and roll to the right. The water tender came to rest on its cab. The operator and passenger were wearing seatbelts. They were also wearing hardhats and were not injured.

Narrative: Water Tender (WT) 5 WCF 7501, 1992 Ford L9000, license number A258642, with 3000 gallon.

WT-5 was assigned to the Schultz Fire. The operator was returning to the fire for the second time after filling with water from a city hydrant in the Cheshire sub-division and was traveling on FR 420.

FR 420 is a level 3 dirt road which is maintained and had been bladed 3 weeks prior to the accident. At the location of the accident, FR 420 is 15 feet wide of hard surface with a 4 % out slope. As you are facing the direction of travel, there is a cut-bank on the left side of the road and an embankment dropping approximately ten feet on the right.

WT-5 traveled for 51 feet on the shoulder of the far right side of the road before the shoulder gave way. The right front tire began to slide down an embankment but the operator was able to get the tire back on the road. The rear tires, which support the weight of the load, caused the shoulder to give way even more.

The combination of the shoulder giving way and the momentum of the water shifting in the tank caused WT-5 to start sliding down the embankment and roll to the right. WT-5 rolled over and came to rest on its cab at the bottom of a ten-foot embankment in Schultz Creek.

Records indicated appropriate vehicle inspections had occurred prior to the incident.

/s/ Alvin Brown acting for


District Ranger

cc: Bequi Livingston

Alex Perez

Linda M Murphy

John Booth

Alvin R Brown

Caring for the Land and Serving People Printed on Recycled Paper Water Trucks and Water Tenders

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Natural Gas Well Water Trucks Can Explode - Natural Gas Well Water Trucks Can Explode:

(CBS4) DENVER They're called "water trucks" and are an important part of Colorado's booming natural gas industry. But the trucks aren't carrying regular water. Instead, the "produced water" can be dangerous and occasionally explode under certain circumstances, according to firefighters.

The trucks carrying the water are everywhere in Garfield, Mesa and Weld Counties. There is no state or federally mandated training for drivers who handle the "produced water." No special gear is required and the water is not regulated as a hazardous material.

The "produced water" contains hydrocarbons like benzene, toluene, and xylene. They're all chemical compounds that come from natural gas wells.

Last February, Dave and Evelyn Connors nearly lost their lives when Dave, a professional driver, used a blow torch to thaw the valve of a company water truck.

"The next thing I remember, I'm laying on the ground, and wondering where all the blood is coming from," said Evelyn Connors.

Drivers said it is a common practice in the industry, but the explosive gases came out of the "produced water" that had been sitting in the partially empty tanker overnight. A spark from the blow torch hit the gases, igniting the explosion.

"We was fragged from the explosion with metal and sand and ice out of the truck, first, second, third degree burns," said Dave Connors.

Fragments of the truck flew about a quarter-mile in the heavily residential neighborhood.

Mike Morgan, the fire chief in Rifle, is aware of "produced water's" potential and thinks there should be more education.

"If we convince ourselves that it's water, or that this stuff won't hurt you, that's when someone's going to get hurt or killed," Morgan said.

Morgan adds that water truck explosions are rare and "produced water" almost never poses a hazard driving down the highway when trucks have a full load. The risk starts to rise when the tanker is partially empty and hydrocarbons come out of the water and turn into combustible gas, he said. It would still take an ignition source like an open flame, spark or static electricity to make it dangerous.

"There's really very minimal risk," said Doug Hock, a spokesman for EnCana, an energy company. "Produced water has dissolved hydrocarbons in it and like any substance of this nature; you have to follow safe practices. If you follow safe practices, accidents can be prevented."

Hock said drivers who transport "produced water" aren't allowed to have open flames on a gas well site.

Firefighters said accidents do happen because of the growth in natural gas development and the surge of inexperienced drivers to meet that demand.

Many water truck explosions happen during the winter when drivers use a blow torch. Some trucking companies are starting to spend the money to add electric valve heaters so blow torches aren't necessary. But there are not federal or state rules that prohibit the use of a blow torch.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Wildfire scorches 5,000 acres near Finley

Mid Columbia News:
Wildfire scorches 5,000 acres near Finley
Flames coursed through about 5,000 acres of dry, yellow cheatgrass and sagebrush south of Finley on Sunday

Published Monday, July 30th, 2007
By Andrew Sirocchi, Herald staff writer

Flames coursed through about 5,000 acres of dry, yellow cheatgrass and sagebrush south of Finley on Sunday, sending columns of dirty gray and black smoke billowing into blue skies.

By early evening with the fire about 30 percent to 40 percent contained, 75 regional firefighters were making a concerted push to hold the blaze south of a command center set up off an unimproved road next to Highway 397.

The blaze, which had burned since about 9 a.m., had not threatened any structures or caused any injuries.

But as the flames moved north, officials worried the blaze was making its way closer to a row of orchards and homes.

"Our objective now is trying to hold it to Ayers Road," said Kennewick Fire Marshal Mark Yaden. "But that's a challenge right now."

Nearly every agency in Benton, Franklin and Walla Walla counties, as well as Hanford, sent firefighters to join the attack in the desert south of the Tri-Cities.

By early evening, with flames only a few hundred yards from the command center and firefighters tiring from a daylong fight, officials said they had made a request to authorize state mobilization and allow crews from agencies outside the region to respond. But it was unclear when a decision would be reached and local firefighters continued to attack the blaze with all the regional resources they could muster.

Two planes - one from Pendleton and a second from Richland, were dispatched to drop fire retardant chemicals over the blaze.

Water, though, was scarce and being used conservatively.

Benton Fire District 1 officials set up a 3,000-gallon mobile water tank and allowed any agency to pick up loads from the command center. A water tender made repeated trips into Finley to keep the mobile tank stocked.

Ultimately, it was the challenges posed by the terrain - and the difficulties of safely reaching the areas that were burning - that ensured firefighters would have to attack the blaze with fire instead of water.

"The conditions, the wind, the terrain, the access - it's all wrapped into one," said Benton County Fire District 1 Capt. Devin Helland of the difficulties that firefighters were facing. "We're trying to flank it and pinch it off."

Officials believe the fire began in the Wallula Gap near the Columbia River. With the blaze spreading, a cause was not immediately being determined but Yaden said firefighters will investigate whether sparks from a passing train ignited the blaze.

"Early on, there was some mention of a train but that's just speculation now," Yaden said.

While the flames spread steadily throughout the day, it was the intensity of the heat as much as the speed of the fire that was creating problems and making the job more difficult than it otherwise would be.

By mid-afternoon, two bulldozers used to clear brush and fuel from the path of the fire were temporarily put out of commission.

Meanwhile, Yaden said firefighters were tiring and the flames already had jumped several roads where officials had hoped they would be able to hold the lines.

Firefighters Matt Demiter and Jill Berry, of Benton County Fire District 4, returned to the command center covered in soot and sweat with a melted side mirror, boiled paint and a damaged plastic fender on their truck.

The two firefighters initially were deployed off Finley Road to attack the blaze by back burning brush and grass. The terrain, though, created too many hazards and made reaching the flames too difficult to trap the blaze in its earliest stages.

"It was too hard to fight," Demiter said. "With the canyons being so steep, it wasn't safe being in there." Both firefighters were dispatched to the desert blaze directly from Kennewick, where they had helped put out a brush fire near 53rd Avenue. It was a small fire, particularly compared to the desert blaze they would see for the rest of the day south of Finley.

But for many firefighters, it was one more job that made attacking the desert fire even more tiring and difficult with little end in sight.

"It's been a pretty calm fire but there's a lot of work left to be done," Yaden said. "There's a lot of fuel left in the stubble.

Water Trucks and Water Tenders