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Bridge Collapse Update: MN Department of Public Safety

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OPED News has received the official and initial situation report from the Minnesota  State Emergency Operations Center which  MnDOT activated  shortly after the I-35 bridge collapse. 

Sources in the State Senate report, “We have no indications that terrorism is involved and we have no stepped up inspections of our critical bridges in response to the tragedy.”

"Since then we've had a request for structural engineers to meet with Minneapois officilas  at 0800 on August 2 to assess the safety of standing structure. The incident is in recovery no longer in response phase," sources said.

The Situation Report #1 was released by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, on August 1, 2007 at 10:00 p.m.

“Rescue was conducted and all vehicles on the bridge have been cleared of people, The report said.

Incident Command is at the 10th Street Bridge, commanded by Minneapolis Fire.

There are approximately 75 fire fighting and 75 law enforcement units on scene, including collapse structure rescue and dive teams.  Numerous city and county water craft are assisting, as well as a barge from the Corps of Engineers and 3 craft from the US Coast Guard.  Sonar is being utilized to search in the water.  The National Guard had a helicopter equipped with a hoist on scene and was released at 2115.  The State Patrol is coordinating law enforcement assets from outside the City of Minneapolis.

Lights have been delivered to continue operations after dark.  Iron workers are on the scene to consult regarding the bridge components.

60 children were on a school bus, some were taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, others were taken to the Red Cross building nearby.  Some children have been reunited with their families.  The Red Cross has established a Family Reception Center at the Holiday Inn Metrodome.

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Contact has been made with FEMA staff in Chicago and Washington. The Pollution Control Agency is currently on scene and available for request regarding debris in the river. Another contractor is staged down river near Hidden Falls for oil recovery if needed. At this writing, no hazardous materials have been identified. A  HazMat specialist is checking on railroad tanker under the collapsed bridge, but it is not believed to contain any hazardous materials

112 patients have been admitted to 3 different hospitals and Emergency Service response has been termed “adequate.”

I-35W is closed south from 280 and north from Interstate 94. The Federal Highway Administration has been contacted regarding traffic rerouting on this major artery.

The Federal Highway Administration Operations Center is activated at the Roseville Station and Staff is working on a long term detour plan and it will be communicated on cell phone 511.

The Transportation Security Agency (TSA)  reports it is  “Monitoring the situation, and the main concern is the highway traffic.  The hopper cars trapped on the parallel track have no impact on rail traffic, that is a holding area.”

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A US Coast Guard 25 foot response boat has arrived and two auxiliary boats are in the area and available.  The Coast Guard reports it could offer a helicopter if it is needed.

There is some concern about possible damage to a fiber communications line below the bridge collapse area.


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Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative environmental and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota, New Orleans and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill (more...)

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