Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Fernley 911

Following my usual practice (when not in meetings or otherwise needing things quieter), I keep the radio scanner running in the living room. This morning I heard a call-out to "100 Front Street" which is the Imerys Minerals (former Celite) diatomaceous earth processing plant (we call it the "kitty litter" factory) down the street from our house. We regularly have to redirect wayward big rigs following their GPS the wrong way past our house at 125 West Front instead of going to Imerys at 100 East Front. (This would be less of a problem if they'd actually give their address as East Front instead of just Front.)

Listening to the call out to the fire department, I could see confusion ahead for them. Someone at Imerys had noticed a large plume of something shooting out of the asphalt plant on the other side of the railroad tracks, and had said so the 911 dispatcher. However, the dispatcher in Yerrington probably had no idea that the asphalt plant is across the tracks and it's very much around-the-houses to get between the two places. Because the 911 system gave them 100 Front Street, that's where they sent the fire department.

Steam Leak at the Asphalt Plant

First on the scene was the fire captain in BAT-61. He saw me waving and pointing and stopped and asked where the problem was. I pointed at the plume (the captain apparently hadn't seen it yet) and he headed off for the 2-mile jaunt over to Paramount Asphalt. For some reason, he directed one of the fire trucks to stage at the corner of Front and Center Streets (that's the corner next to Fernley House). Engine 61 showed up shortly thereafter, but then continued on toward the actual incident.

Steam Leak at the Asphalt Plant

Here's some video of the plume, which was quite large at times.

I went and alerted Lisa, in case we had to bug out should it turn out to be dangerous. However, by the time I got back to the living room and the radio, I could see that the fire equipment was already on their way back to the station. Unfortunately, I didn't hear the end of the story over the radio, as it was over by the time I got back.

Amtrak Passing the Cloud

The steam plume — which is what I assume it was — continued for much of the morning. I got this picture of Amtrak #5, the westbound California Zephyr, coming through with the Imerys plant on the right and the plume still visible coming out of Paramount Asphalt on the left.

Low Flying Helicopter
Low Flying Helicopter

For bonus and unrelated action around the same time, this helicopter came flying over quite low, appearing to follow the railroad tracks as it headed west. You can see in these photos how low the snow came last night.

I never did learn what was causing the steam plume, but it apparently was nothing dangerous, for which I am very relieved. We have way too much to worry about already without having to bug out from a hazardous material leak.

We had more light snow overnight, and we had to tread carefully on the porch where it had frozen over until the sun came out later in the morning and melted it all.
Tags: amtrak, fernley, fire
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