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Team effort helped tackle Port of Entry hazmat incident

Team effort helped tackle Port of Entry hazmat incident

A dangerous chemical leak shut down Interstate 90 for 20 hours Sunday and forced the mobilization of a dozen first responder agencies from across the region to tackle the clean up.

Early Sunday afternoon a semi truck on its way to Moses Lake was stopped at the Washington Port of Entry after a driver in Idaho reported an ammonia smell coming from the truck. The truck was leaking trimethylamine anhydrous gas, and the Idaho State Police and the Washington State Patrol immediately called in hazardous materials crew to clean up the leak.

Emergency responders from multiple agencies, including Spokane, Spokane Valley and Fairchild Air Force Base, all converged on the Port of Entry, working through the night in a situation which Jeff Bordwell with the Spokane Valley Fire Department described as anything but routine.

"When you start messing with materials like this that are flammable and can take out people very quickly, whether it be by flame or health concerns," he said.

In total only about a gallon of the chemical was actually leaked but it's highly volatile and highly flammable.

Grant County child hospitalized with possible enterovirus

Grant County child hospitalized with possible enterovirus

A Grant County child has been hospitalized with a severe respiratory that may be enterovirus D68. A test returned positive for enterovirus/rhinovirus, but was unable to distinguish between the two. Additional testing is being done at the Centers for Disease Control that will determine which it is, with results expected next week.

Grant County Health Officer Dr. Alexander Brezny issued a public health advisory to local healthcare providers and schools. The CDC has said this is a rapidly evolving situation. Previously EV-D68 has been rare in the U.S, but in other states the outbreaks are resulting in many children requiring ER visits and hospitalizations, mostly for breathing problems and severe asthma.

The virus spreads from person to person like a cold and has been causing mild to severe breathing illnesses (runny nose, cough, difficulty breathing) both with and without fever. Children with per-existing asthma may suffer worse infections. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for enteroviruses.

I-90 back open after hazardous material leak

I-90 back open after hazardous material leak

Interstate 90 is back open from Post Falls to Liberty after a chemical leak had shut it down for nearly 18 hours.

A tanker semi truck was leaking vapors from a load of Trimethylamine Anhydrous, which is used for agricultural fertilizer, at the Washington Port of Entry just four miles east of Liberty Lake.

Technicians with the HAZMAT team were able to cap that leak Monday morning.

Officials shut down I-90 just before 2:30 p.m. Sunday, causing major traffic headaches for drivers.

A car that was following behind the semi truck in Idaho reported the smell of ammonia. The truck was stopped at a weigh station near Liberty Lake.

Trimethylamine Anhydrous is highly toxic, so a HAZMAT crew from the Spokane Fire Department was called in. Officials say that the substance needs a minimum perimeter of 350 feet around it. Because of that, officials decided to shut down the freeway and evacuate the Port of Entry weigh station.

While it isn't a threat right now, the chemical can can cause serious injuries and is highly flammable, so officials aren't taking any chances.

Driver could face hit and run charge for fatal collision

Investigators are recommending a woman be charged with felony hit and run for a fatal hit and run on September 2.

Traffic Unit investigators with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office are recommending the charge against Tammy Hodge, 43, who contacted detectives hours after the fatal crash.

Rob Royer, 47, was riding his bike across the Park Road overpass over I-90 when he was struck by a car driven by Hodge.

Hodge's vehicle, a 1996 Saturn, was impounded after she came forward and contacted authorities about the fatal collision.

The charging recommendation has been forwarded to the Spokane County Prosecutor's Office, which will decide whether a charge is warranted in the case.

Missing person alert: William Weipert

Missing person alert: William Weipert

UPDATE: William Weipert has been found.

 

The Coeur d'Alene Police Department are asking the public to be on the lookout for 56-year-old William C. Weipert of Spokane. A manager of the Lighthouse, an adult care facility in Spokane, reported him missing Wednesday.

Weipert was originally reported missing on August 23rd, than found and placed into the Kootnei County Jail on August 27. He was released September 9, but hasn't been seen or heard from since.

Weipert suffers from mental disabilities. The manager at Lighthouse is concerned for his safety and says he may be utilizing homeless services in the area.

He's described as 6 feet tall, 165 pounds with hazel eyes, long grey hair and a full grey beard. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a blue jacket, a blue button up shirt and a white tanktop.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts should call CDA Police at (208) 769-2320.

County flagger comes to aid of abandoned children

A Spokane woman who stands between impatient drivers and her road construction crew is being credited with saving three children who were abandoned by their mother.

It's construction season in the Spokane area and that means delays and detours and sometimes stopping traffic altogether. You have to be a take-charge kind of person to be a flagger and in this case that assertiveness got some young kids out of a very unhealthy situation.

Kelly Stickelmeyer is a flagger for the Spokane County Road Department and, with the help of her sign and a radio, she keeps traffic moving in both directions even when sometimes, only one lane is open.

?It's to keep traffic flowing as easy as possible keep the crews safe, keep the traffic safe,? she explained.

Last month Stickelmeyer was flagging a pavement patching job in the Highland Estates when she spotted two little girls crying on the porch of a nearby home.

AARP helping seniors fight online fraud

AARP helping seniors fight online fraud

Nearly three quarters of Washington adults who use the internet have received online fraud offers in the last year, with seniors being some of the most vulnerable, but AARP is working to help seniors fight back against fraud.

It seems like a new scam pops up every day and unfortunately it's our elderly that often fall victim to these crimes. The AARP hopes to change that.

A capacity crowed of 300 seniors converged on the Centerplace regional event center in Spokane Valley for "Scam Jam," a free consumer information event held by AARP and the Washington state Attorney General's office.

The two and half hour seminar focused on keeping seniors safe from fraud, especially online scams and identity theft. Washington AG Bob Ferguson said if you are a victim of one of these scams, you should report it to his office immediately.