Man dies after setting fire to keep warm in Cudahy, authorities say

A man died Monday night in Cudahy after apparently starting a fire in an enclosed dumpster area in an attempt to keep warm, authorities said.

Firefighters responded to a report of a fire behind a store in the 4500 block of Santa Ana Street about 10:30 p.m. and found two dumpsters burning. They put out the flames and discovered the man’s body.

Preliminary investigation indicates that the man climbed into a walled-in and gated enclosure where dumpsters are stored and set a fire beside them to heat himself, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. Derrick Alfred said. He then caught fire, suffering significant burns and probable smoke inhalation, Alfred said.

The man is believed to have been homeless. His name was not immediately released.

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Creche fire regulations delayed amid fear of closures

The Government has delayed the introduction of new fire safety regulations for creches amid concerns it could prompt the widespread closure of smaller childcare facilities.

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, wrote to all childcare operators this week requesting that they submit mandatory documentation by December 12th if they are to continue operating in the new year.

However, it says a requirement for childcare facilities to carry out fire risk assessments which are needed to obtain fire certs will now be delayed until June 30th of next year.

Many smaller childcare operators had warned that they faced imminent closure due to a difficulties carrying out mandatory fire risk assessments and obtaining fire certs.

Seas Suas, a representative group for independent childcare and early education providers, warned that many smaller operators would still be under acute pressure to meet the mid-December deadline for provision of documentation in relation to issues such as insurance cover and Garda vetting.

In addition, it says some smaller childcare facilities will require costly modifications or rebuilding work if they are to get fire certs.

“There is now huge pressure on providers to provide reams of paperwork online,” said Seas Suas chairwoman Regina Bushell.

“This is the busiest time of year and comes at a time when the new national childcare scheme is being introduced. They are very worried that they will not meet the deadline.”

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Residents flee fourth major Texas petrochemical fire this year

PORT NECHES, Texas (Reuters) – Three workers were injured and residents of four towns were told to evacuate after explosions on Wednesday at a Texas petrochemical plant, the latest in a series of chemical plant accidents in the region.

An early morning blast at a TPC Group complex in Port Neches, Texas, was followed by a series of secondary explosions that shattered windows and blew locked doors off their hinges.

About 60,000 people within a four-mile (6.4 km) radius of the facility were ordered to leave after a distillation column blew up about at 2 p.m. (2000 GMT) It was uncertain when residents would be able to return, Jefferson County chief executive Jeff Branick said.

Branick ordered the departures on the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday out of fear heat from the fire would ignite petrochemical tanks at the site. Firefighters were spraying water on the spherical tanks containing butane and other fuels to keep them cool, officials said.

The mandatory evacuation covers Port Neches and Groves, and portions of nearby Nederland and Port Arthur, Texas, officials said. State police would patrol the communities to prevent looting, Branick said.

The plant sits on a 218-acre (88.22-hectare) site located about 90 miles (145 km) east of Houston. It processes petrochemicals used to make synthetic rubber and resins, and a gasoline additive. TPC is nestled among several other chemical complexes that were not affected by the flames.

Peyton Keith, a TPC spokesman, said fire officials were determined to let the fire in a butadiene processing unit burn itself out, and were attempting to keep the flames from spreading. He could not say when the fire could be extinguished.

A smoky plume visible from miles (km) away released volatile organic compounds that can lead to eye, nose and throat irritation, shortness of breath, headaches and nausea, pollution regulator Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) said. No impact to water was reported.

Flames are seen after a massive explosion that sparked a blaze at a Texas petrochemical plant in Port Neches, Texas, U.S., November 27, 2019.  REUTERS/Erwin Seba

Toby Baker, TCEQ executive director, criticized the “unacceptable trend of significant incidents” in the region and pledged to review the state’s compliance efforts.

The fiery blast caused extensive damage to operations at the TPC site and followed other fires at petrochemical producers and storage facilities in Texas.

A March blaze at chemical storage complex outside Houston burned for days and was followed a month later by another at a KMCO LLC plant northeast of Houston that killed one worker and injured a second. A fire at an Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) chemical plant in Baytown, Texas, in July injured 37.

People more than 30 miles (48 km) away from the complex were shaken awake by the 1 a.m. CT (0700 GMT) explosion, sources familiar with the fire-fighting and rescue operations said.

The blast collapsed a roof over the plant’s control room, sending workers fleeing, and damaged its fire-fighting system. The suppression system was restored later in the day, Keith said.

Some homes close to the plant also sustained heavy damage, and police went door-to-door early in the morning to check if residents were injured, said the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

One of the three injured workers was flown by helicopter to a Houston hospital. All three were treated and released, Keith said.

The plant employs 175 people and routinely has 50 contract workers on site.

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“We cannot speak to the cause of the incident or the extent of damage,” the company said.

TPC processes petrochemicals for use in the manufacture of synthetic rubber, nylon, resins, plastics and MBTE, a gasoline additive. The company supplies more than a third of the feedstock butadiene in North America, according to its website.

“Right now, our focus is on protecting the safety of responders and the public, and minimizing any impact to the environment,” TPC Group said on its website.

Reporting by Erwin Seba in Port Neches and K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Arpan Varghese, editing by Steve Orlofsky, Bill Berkrot and Sandra Maler

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Fire brigades fight cave fire in California

On Tuesday, some 600 California firefighters battled a forest fire which was fueled by wind and got out of control, putting thousands of homes at risk and causing evacuation orders, Trend reports citing Sputnik.

Officials said that helicopters and fixed-wing planes have come to the aid of fire brigades waging their battle across the harsh terrain.

“The Cave Fire is burning under some of the toughest firefighting conditions anywhere in the world”, said Los Padres National Forest Fire Chief Jimmy Harris. “We’ve experienced several offshore wind events at this point, and that has just dried the fuel bed out to the point where we’re seeing the fire behavior we saw last night”, he added.

He said that firefighters were forced to face high winds, which push the flames up and down the hills.

​Authorities added that the Cave fire has not been contained yet but the hope for heavy rains remains.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said that about 4,000 locals who fled the blaze would be permitted to return home on Tuesday afternoon.

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