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NTSB Investigators Unraveling Cause of Fiery Caltrain Collision That Injured 13

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SAN BRUNO (CBS SF) — Federal investigators began the painstaking process Friday of unraveling the events leading up to a fiery crash between a Caltrain engine and construction equipment that injured 13 people and has shut down rail service between the South San Francisco and Millbrae stations.

Caltrain officials said the equipment was taking part in the system’s ongoing electrification project, but it should not have been on the tracks as the commuter train with 75 passengers aboard approached.

“All the equipment should have been cleared of the tracks when trains come through,” said Caltrain spokesperson Dan Lieberman. “We’ve been doing construction on the tracks throughout electrification. That’s under investigation.”

Neighbors who live near the crash site told KPIX 5 it was not uncommon to see workers near the tracks.

“These guys are working on this whole line every day,” said area resident Larry Valencia. “I know they’re super safety conscious and all of that, but why was that train flying on that track where the truck was?”

That will be among the many questions federal investigators will be trying to answer.

“There are watchmen on site that are communicating with dispatch, but ultimately, it’s not clear where the breakdown took place,” Lieberman said. “This is not exactly a happy day, but we’re glad it is not worse than it is.”

Caltrain officials said a total 13 people were injured in the collision, but none of the injuries appeared to be life threatening. San Bruno Fire officials said that five of those injured, including two Caltrain employees, individuals were transported to area hospitals.

“Our deepest thoughts and sympathies are with all those who were injured today,” said Caltrain’s acting executive director Michelle Bouchard in a statement issued by the agency.

Early Friday morning, commuters riding on the rail line between San Jose and San Francisco were forced to use a bus bridge between the South San Francisco and Millbrae stations. SamTrans and BART were also providing mutual aid.

The collision near Scott Street in San Bruno happened around 10:38 a.m. when the train slammed into two pieces of equipment on the track.

The force of the impact ripped the equipment apart, with the burning cab remaining in front of the engine and another large piece of wreckage coming to rest several cars back. Burning gasoline could be seen under several cars.

Passengers told KPIX about the terrifying moments that followed.

“It was pretty chaotic. There was maybe 15 seconds where nobody knew what to do,” Jesse Miller told KPIX. “Some people started opening up the emergency exits in the windows. Some people actually jumped out of the windows.”

Miller posted an image on Twitter of the fireball moments after the crash.

Craziest #Caltrain ride ever. I think everyone got off the train safely pic.twitter.com/XWTnJVynRj

— Jesse Miller (@Texosporium) March 10, 2022

“I saw one worker who was taken away in an ambulance. He looked like he got some cuts and serious bruises,” said Caltrain passenger Elizabeth Tom. “I saw another passenger, he had a gash on his eye.”

While investigators piece together the crash scene, rail traffic through the stretch of track has been shutdown.

The bus bridge will be in place until at least 4 p.m. Friday. For the rest of the system, Caltrain will continue to operate under its regular weekday schedule. Passengers traveling between the South San Francisco and Millbrae train stations should expect service delays as a result of the bus-bridge. Passengers can also find other public transportation options by visiting 511.org.

Original Article: sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com

Legislation

A First As the World Warms: New Forecasts Could Help Predict Marine Heat Waves

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Scientists have developed a new system to predict when and where marine heatwave is likely to develop.

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Collisions Cause Major Traffic Backups in Bothell and Arlington

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Traffic in the Puget Sound region came to a stop Wednesday morning due to two separate incidents, one in Bothell and the other near Arlington. On southbound Interstate 405 in Bothell, a collision near Highway 527 closed the two right lanes, the Washington State Department of Transportation announced on Twitter. The resulting traffic backup is […]

Source Here: seattletimes.com

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DISH Network to Pay $5.5M Settlement Over Alleged Hazardous Waste Disposal Violations

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OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Satellite TV provider DISH Network will pay $5.5 million to settle a lawsuit accusing it of illegally disposing of hazardous waste in Alameda County and elsewhere in the state.

DISH Network is alleged to have violated California environmental laws by sending hazardous waste to local landfills that are not equipped or authorized to receive the waste.

According to state Attorney General Rob Bonta, audits of DISH facilities in California found that DISH repeatedly disposed of hazardous waste since 2005 in violation of the Hazardous Waste Control Law and Unfair Competition Law.

“If you break the rules, we will hold you accountable,” said Bonta in a press release. “For years, DISH carelessly disposed of and sent hazardous waste to local landfills, ignoring the consequences for our communities and our environment. From there, hazardous chemical elements from electronic devices, batteries, aerosols, and more could seep into soil and contaminate our environment. Today’s settlement is critical. Large corporations like DISH have a responsibility to respect our environmental laws and do their part to protect our state’s precious resources.”

“My Office is committed to holding corporate polluters accountable for violations of state environmental laws,” said Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley in a statement. “Hazardous electronic waste is ubiquitous, and everyone must do their part to keep these items out of the landfill, especially large corporations who handle high volumes of electronic waste.”

As a provider of TV and video services to residential and business customers, DISH employees manage large volumes of electronic equipment, such as remote controls, transformers, and power adapters, various batteries, aerosol cans, and other items classified as hazardous waste.

The Colorado-based company will pay for penalties, costs, and supplemental environmental project to benefit the community while making significant changes to its operations and practices to come into compliance with state law.

Specifically, DISH must:

• Pay $5.5 million, including $3.32 million in civil penalties, $835,500 in litigation costs, and $845,000 for supplemental environmental projects. DISH must also spend $500,000 to implement enhanced environmental compliance measures to ensure proper management of hazardous waste at its California facilities.

• Hire an independent third-party auditor to perform environmental compliance audits at DISH’s 25 facilities across the state;

• Conduct regular inspections of facility trash dumpsters and roll-off containers to ensure the containers do not contain hazardous waste; and

• Provide training to employees to ensure compliance with California’s hazardous waste laws.

According to the attorney general’s and Alameda DA’s offices, the DISH settlement is the fifth case of a telecom industry giant addressing unlawful disposal and management of hazardous waste. The two offices have also successfully prosecuted AT&T, Comcast, DirecTV, and Cox Communications for similar environmental violations related to illegal disposals of large volumes of electronic waste from their cable and satellite video services.

Source Here: sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com

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