09/10/10 223 W, 1 I - + 7 - 1 Big Fires on All Sides

California, Michigan, Maryland. Big fires this week. Dave Statter's had great coverage of all three. We'll go west to east. Natural gas transmission line ruptures in suburban neighborhood outside of San Francisco last night. Over 50 homes destroyed. At least three killed and injured. Happened in early evening, which means sunset, which means amazing photos, as you'll see in the New York Times coverage of same. One is shown below.

Baltimore had a trio of multi-alarm fires on Wednesday night. Mutual aid responded from everywhere, including Washington, DC. That's the first time the capital's sent support since the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904. Equally compelling are the comments, which range from commentary on the department's staffing issues to training/experience level disparities among assisting departments. Also visit the Baltimore Watch Desk for added effect.

Detroit firefighters fought almost 100 fires on Tuesday. High winds blowing and power lines falling equaled dozens of fires in a four-hour stretch. Toward the end, DFD reached out for aid. Said one official in one news report, that hasn't happened since the riots of 1967. The city also shuts down eight or nine of their 65 companies each day. Can't find a total of structures burned. Appears to be dozens. That's one tough town.

Great coverage by Statter.

Peter Dasilva/European Pressphoto Agency/New York Times photo

Optional Friday discussion topics for local focus, as based on above:

What gas, fuel, or other high-hazard transmission lines travel through highly populated areas here? And what response plans are in place?

How do you/should you accommodate differences in training/experience among departments utilized for mutual aid, or other assistance?

What techniques or plans are in your toolbox, for high-wind hazard days and resource needs therein?
Legeros - 09/10/10 - 06:57

No idea about transmission lines in the area. Anyway you could find something out for us on the issue?

Accomodating differences in training/experience for mutual aid? hmm. Not too sure about that one. maybe assign a Chief to Supervise each? Unfified Command is a good one to. Thats tough.

High wind? I think we’ve all learned from our recent incidents here. Call for help ASAP. Big water NOW. At least we havent resorted to dynamite like in the old days right?
Jake T. - 09/10/10 - 13:53

I listened in on Detroit’s jobs, classic size-up; “Ladder 28 on scene, I’ve got three dwellings goin’ and four dwellings goin’ a block over from us”.
Silver - 09/10/10 - 17:43

Did a little looking on the subject of gas supply lines. Looks like they run through our state to the west, and maybe the Triad has ‘em, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nat..

Enlarge the map on the above page. I couldn’t readily find a more detailed / higher resolution map.
Legeros - 09/13/10 - 08:38

The Dixie Pipeline delivers LP gas (high pressure liquid state) into Apex – the Apex guys can give you more detail. RDU Airport receives its aviation fuels via pipeline (Colonial Pipeline I think). PSNC (Cary/Raleigh on E. Chatham St./Hillsborough St.) receives their natural gas via pipeline (unknown transporter). There is also a small tank farm in Apex on Ten-Ten Rd. close to US-1 that is supplied by pipeline. All of these lines are under high pressure (600psi plus…) and capable of the destruction seen in the photos. Oddly, they are statistically safer than transporting over the road or rail. So, I guess there are more high pressure lines in Wake County than we think! SOme basic info on pipelines is located at: http://www.pipeline101.com/
A.C. Rich - 09/13/10 - 13:50

Thanks AC!

Google finds the Wake County Emergency Operations Plan for Multi-Hazards, and there are a couple pipeline maps in the Appendixes on pages 159 and 160, http://www.wakegov.com/readywake/documen..

Albeit, somewhat difficult to read maps.
Legeros - 09/13/10 - 19:41

Ahh… I see the natural gas line from US #1 north. Forgot about that one. It’s 16” (I believe) and it was severed in the 80’s when construction was taking place on the realignment of US-1 (4 lane) with S. Main St. (US-1A).
A.C. Rich - 09/14/10 - 11:47

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