After fire erupts at California energy facility, investigators look for answers

first_imgJSABBOTT/iStock(CROCKETT, Calif.) — California officials are investigating the cause of a fire this week at an energy facility that brought a major interstate highway to a halt and forced thousands of residents to shelter in place for hours, including the possibility that it was sparked by the 4.5 magnitude earthquake on Monday.“I’m confident our investigators can work around the structure to determine the cause of the fire,” said Contra Costa County Fire Department Public Information Officer Steve Hill, whose department is leading the investigation. He added: “Anything related to the earthquake would be speculation at this point.”The inferno, which began Tuesday afternoon at the NuStar Energy plant in Crockett, involved two large tanks that held ethanol, an additive used for vehicle fuel. The tanks contained at least 250,000 gallons, according to the Contra Costa Fire Department. NuStar said that that volume makes up only about 1% of the tank capacity.One of the tanks exploded, sending its roof flying into the air and then crashing to the ground. Nearby residents said the explosion was so powerful that they thought it was a second earthquake on the heels of Monday’s 4.5 tremor, which hit around 15 miles from the energy plant.Thick black smoke rose through the air, impeding the work of first responders. A related vegetation fire also broke out in the area, affecting approximately 14 acres.Immediately following the outbreak, NuStar enacted it’s emergency response procedures, which includes cooling adjacent tanks “to minimize the risk of the fire spreading” and contacting all regulatory agencies, the energy facility said in a statement.Contra Costa Fire, which responded to the alarm, used water and foam to fight the blaze and has since been keeping foam blankets to smother the fire and prevent oxygen from getting to the ethanol. These blankets also help to protect flareups so nearby tanks, which hold ethanol and jet fuel, don’t catch fire too. Officials say these tanks are being examined to ensure structural integrity.“We’re examining one in particular,” said Hill.“We believe that it is safe. We want to make absolutely sure and so that assessment team is in there looking at that one tank right now. The rest of the tanks we were concerned about all day yesterday, we determined they maintained their structural integrity. They are safe,” he continued.While there were no employee injuries, one NuStar employee was unable to evacuate and was forced to hid in a culvert until he was rescued by first responders. One firefighter, however, did sustain minor injuries.The fire, which shut down both directions of Interstate 80, caused major delays during the rush hour period and forced frustrated drivers to seek alternate routes. The highway eventually reopened late Tuesday night.Residents in surrounding areas were forced to shelter in place for several hours, including children who were forced to shelter in schools as the air conditions were not safe enough to allow parents to pick up their kids. By Wednesday though, officials say there is no ongoing public health threat and the shelter in place had been lifted.“One of the things that the assessment team that is in the facility right now is doing is they are looking at a solution of mitigating the vapor emissions that are coming off of both of those where the tanks location were,” said Hill.“What’s happened is the two tanks that burned were more or less destroyed in the fires and the secondary containment facilities which are earth and berms around those tanks are now holding the remainders of the materials that were in the tanks,” he added. Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

OTM says it now lists 55% of total agent properties available in UK

first_imgHome » News » Marketing » OTM says it now lists 55% of total agent properties available in UK previous nextMarketingOTM says it now lists 55% of total agent properties available in UKLatest update also reveals that it is signing up between 500 and 1000 branches to its portal approximately every 20 days.Nigel Lewis5th July 20180918 Views  OnTheMarket says it is rapidly catching up with Zoopla and now lists over 550,000 rental and sales properties and has 9,500 listing agents, the company has announced.This means it has 55% of the total potential market for agent-listed properties while Zoopla has 82%, assuming a total market of a million properties, which Rightmove lists.The latest update from OTM, whose figures suggest it is now signing up between 500 and 1,000 agents approximately every 20 days, indicate that at current rate of expansion, the portal could catch up Zoopla in approximately 15 months, assuming the ZPG portal stands still.OTM has added 4,000 branches to its portal since it listed on AIM in February this year, an increase of 72%.“The very strong and growing agent support for our proposition has enabled us to rapidly gain ground on the market share of property listings of our long-established key competitors,” says OTM’s CEO Ian Springett.“We remain committed to creating an agent-backed, full scale challenger portal that injects some much-needed competition into the property portals landscape by disrupting what has for too long been effectively a cosy duopoly.”The news didn’t impact the OTM share price, which since peaking at £1.80p a share at the end of May has been drifting downwards recently, finishing at £1.62p at end of play yesterday.Ian Springett’s tigger-like positivity was echoed today by several City analysts, who predict the portal will break into profitability in 2021 during which it will make its first annual profits of £18.5 million, and that it may begin to break-even in “a few months’ time”.Read more about OnTheMarket.comIan Springett Rightmove OnTheMarket OTM Zoopla July 5, 2018Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicenced rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021last_img read more