Tag Archives: Man-Made Disaster

City Begins Demolishing 8th and Washington Hotel After Fire

21 Dec

by Ken Davidson

The City of Gary began the process of demolishing and cleaning up at the site of a December 5, 2013 fire at 8th and Washington Streets. Crews from Actin, Inc. of East Chicago were on hand with heavy equipment on Friday. A barricade fence was placed around the demololition area to prevent the public from entering the site. The fire, and now demolition project, sit directly across the street from the newly build 21st Century Charter School.

The Gazette previously reported on abandoned and falling down city and county owned buildings near schools. The buildings in this block were included in that article which can be viewed here. There are still no announced plans to barricade, repair or demolish the other unsafe structures on the block.

8th and washington hotel

Crews work to demolish a fire damaged hotel at 8th and Washington in Gary on Friday.

hotel fire gary indiana

Actin, Inc. of East Chicago begins demolition

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Reader Outlines Concerns Over Illiana

17 Dec

Letter to the Gazette:

On December 12, 2013, the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission
(NIRPC) voted to accept the Illiana Toll Road into their 2040 Comprehensive
Regional Plan. By voting the Illiana public/private partnership project into
the regional plan, the NIRPC commissioners are allowing the project to clear
one of the many hurdles in its path. Public comment was not allowed at this
final meeting until after the NIRPC commission members had already voted.
NIRPC Chairman and Crown Point Mayor David Uran stated that three meetings
had been held where public comment was allowed and commission members had
reviewed comments submitted by the public. I have my doubts about how many
of the commission members truly read through the valid arguments against
adding this toll road to the commission’s 2040 plan.
> Besides the environmental impact on the region, which has three major
environmental groups filing lawsuits to stop the Illiana Toll Road, two major
business magazines have had eye-opening columns that explain in great detail
the extreme cost to taxpayers when dealing with privately run toll roads.
Openlands, Sierra Club, and Midewin Heritage Association have taken legal
action to stop the toll road based on the inevitable consequences in areas
such as Des Plaines Conservation Area and Midewin Tallgrass Prarie in
Illinois. Bloomberg News and Crain’s Chicago Business both recently printed
columns exposing the fact that overly-optimistic projections take place in
almost all of these road projects. This has led private road companies to
seek “set” payments from the states instead of accepting any risk that tolls
may not match projections. This is a lose/lose situation for the taxpayer.
You pay the toll and pay the state taxes that also pay the difference of
these exaggerated estimates. This is corporate welfare on steroids!
> Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider let the cat out of the bag in
October of this year when interviewed by Crain’s reporter Greg Hinz. When
people throw around the 28,000 jobs between now and 2043, they are quoting
“job-years”(whatever the heck that means), not total new jobs. The actual
estimate is a possible “940 full-time jobs” created. Forty-seven miles of
road cutting through the most pristine farmland and homesteads, which rely
completely on wells for water, so two governors can create 940 jobs over the
next 30 years. It would be funny if it wasn’t so damn stupid and serious.
> Schneider also completely contradicted Indiana Rep. Ed Soliday’s claim at the
NIRPC meeting that a future Peotone Airport is playing no role in pushing
this project. According to Schneider, traffic projections for Illiana done
by IDOT assumed the Peotone Airport will eventually be built. I would have
told Ed that, but public comment was not allowed.
> At the meeting on the 12th of December, which was conveniently held on a
Thursday at 9:00AM in Portage, Indiana, INDOT Northwest Indiana Chief Bob
Alderman gave an impassioned, nearly 15-minute, speech about how the Illiana
Toll Road will make the Borman and I-65 safer for travel. Really, Mr.
Alderman? You truly believe widening I-65 between U.S. 231 and Route 30 will
make things safe when the toll road will be well south of U.S. 231? You
believe diverting traffic from U.S. 30 and the Borman between 2-percent and
8-percent over the next 30 years is going to make the Borman safe?
> I drove from Hammond to the Portage NIRPC meeting on the Borman in light
traffic and still had to drive ultra-defensively because people were driving
25-miles over the speed limit. How will building a toll road make people on
the Borman drive in a safe manner? Why not widen I-65 up to and south of the
toll road? Unlike what some are reporting in the news, the “widening” of
I-65 is NOT part of the Illiana Toll Road project. It is only being approved
at the same time.
> There is so much misinformation being thrown around in support of this toll
road that it is very hard to decipher truth from fiction at this time. But
what is for certain is that we have the governor of one of the most fiscally
sound state governments in the United States making a deal with one of the
most mismanaged states in the Union. Two major business magazines have
labeled this road a bad investment for Hoosiers. Our water will be
threatened by construction, possible hazardous waste trucking spills, and
distance from Lake Michigan and access to fresh water.
> The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) transportation research group’s
(TRIP) most recent study says that 11% of Indiana bridges are structurally
deficient and 22.5% of our roads are in poor condition. Between Illinois and
Indiana, well more than 100-million dollars has been spent just studying the
feasibility of the Illiana Toll Road. That money could have been better
spent fixing our current roads and bridges instead of creating temporary jobs
to build a road 22-miles south of the Borman.
> If I weren’t 100-percent convinced that the Illiana Toll Road will fail to
provide the estimated tolls or meaningful, permanent jobs, I wouldn’t be so
determined to stop this project. If I were convinced that building this road
would make the Borman, Route 30, or any other road around here safer, I would
be in favor of it. I don’t believe any of that. But don’t listen to me.
Look up the information for yourself. Study the facts about our watershed,
private toll roads, look up comments from Illinois Transportation Secretary
Ann Schneider and others who are not so adamant supporters of this project.
Is the purpose of a toll road to create permanent jobs?
>
Dan Blankenship, Lowell

Submit your letter, comments or thoughts to the Gazette:

BREAKING: Fire at Midwest Steel

16 Dec

by Ken Davidson

All Hammond Fire Department personnel are currently deployed at a fire at Midwest Steel located on 165th Street just west of Indianapolis Boulevard.  The fire still rages as this is being written.  We will keep you posted as to any developments.  So far, no injuries have been reported and we pray that remains the case.  East Chicago Fire Department will be covering any other calls in Hammond.  EC FD will be escorted by Hammond PD.

This fire comes on the 22nd anniversary of the last line of duty firefighter death in Hammond.  On December 16, 1991, Hammond firefighters were called to the George C. Meyer Warehouse at 518 Hoffman Street.  Firefighter Fred Biedron, Jr. perished in the fire.  He was missing inside the wreckage of the building and his family waited as bulldozers plowed through the wreckage looking for him.  This has to weigh on the minds of firefighters as they work to battle this blaze tonight.

Click images for full size:

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fire at midwest steel in Hammond IN

fire at midwest steel in Hammond IN

steel plant fire in woodmar section of Hammond, IN

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Tanker with Hazardous Waste Crashes on I-65, Closes Road

14 Dec

Gazette Staff

Gary, Lake County-An early morning crash involving a semi placarded with Hazardous Material shut down a portion of I-65 north bound for almost twelve hours today, Saturday, December 14, 2013.

Preliminary investigation revealed at approximately 4:35 a.m., this morning, Trooper Brandon Henderson responded to a crash on I-65 north bound north of the I-80 west bound ramp. A 2013 Volvo semi pulling a tanker, owned by Transport Service Company out of Oak Brook, Illinois and driven by Dennis A. Rheiner, 61 of Jonesborough, Tennessee was north on I-65 in the right lane when a car cut him off so it could exit to the I-80 east bound ramp. This caused Rheiner to lose control of the semi on the snow covered road and it flipped onto its passenger side.

The semi was placarded for Hazardous Material Hexanes. Hexanes is a colorless, flammable liquid, derived from distillation of petroleum and used as a solvent. The semi was loaded with 6,935 gallons. A small leak was discovered after the crash.

Rheiner was not injured. Another semi/tanker was called from Transport Service Company out of Oak Brook, Illinois to come to the scene to off load the liquid.

All lanes were diverted off on I-65 north bound to the I-80 west bound exit ramp until 4:07 p.m. when the road was re-opened.

Assisting: Indiana State Police Commercial Vehicle Division Sergeant Wanda Clay, Indiana Department of Transportation Hoosier Helpers, Gary and Lake Station Fire and Haz Mat, Waffco Towing, and Service Environmental

Texas Town Evacuated Due to Gas Explosion

14 Nov

by Ken Davidson

 

The Gazette has just received breaking news of a major gas line explosion in Millford,Texas.  The entire town has been ordered evacuated.  The Gazette is obtaining more information and will update this report shortly.

Millford TX, Entire Town Evacuated Due to Gas Explosion

14 Nov

by Ken Davidson

 

The Gazette has just received breaking news of a major gas line explosion in Millford,Texas.  The entire town has been ordered evacuated.  The Gazette is obtaining more information and will update this report shortly.

Semi Crash/Fire Closes West Bound Indiana Toll Road

22 Oct

by Vicky Black

user29390-1382469499-media2_f8fff5_240_180_PrsMe_Lake County-A three semi crash resulting in one semi catching fire and seriously injuring the driver has closed west bound I-90
(Indiana Toll Road) traffic. Preliminary investigation by Trooper Aron Weller revealed that at approximately 10:55 a.m., this Tuesday, October 22, 2013, morning a 2009 Kenworth pulling a tanker, driven by Dave A. Donervse, 32 of Paw Paw, Michigan was west bound in the right lane just east of the I-80/94/Ripley exit on the Toll Road.
Donervse was following a 2010 Sterling semi pulling double trailers, driven by James E. Filbert, 61 of Boardman, Ohio when traffic ahead slowed down. Donervse was unable to slow his Kenworth in time and struck the rear trailer of Filbert’s semi. This caused both trailers of Filbert’s semi to crash into each other and caused Donervse to
lose control. Donervse’s Kenworth veered off to the left where it pass a 2013 Volvo semi pulling a box trailer, driven by Edward W. Bohnke, 52 of New Haven, Indiana that was in the right lane. Donervse’s Kenworth strew debris which hit and damaged Bohnke’s trailer. Donervse’s Kenworth then hit the guard rail and concrete median barrier which
caused the semi cab to catch on fire. Two GoodSamaritans were able
to pull Donervse from his cab.

Donervse was taken to Saint Mary’s Medical Center in Hobart with serious injuries. His tanker was owned by Rose Cartage Services out of Lansing, Illinois and loaded with salt. There was no load lost.

Filbert was treated and released at the scene with a minor injury and his
semi was owned by ABF Freight Systems out of Waterbury, Connecticut.
His trailers were loaded with general freight.Bohnke’s semi was owned
by Reba Transport out of Berne, Indiana and was loaded with furniture.
No load was lost.

Traffic west bound is still closed for investigation of the crash,
clean-up and removal of the burnt semi, damaged trailers and clean-up
of the roadway. Both lanes of traffic are expected to be re-opened shortly.