March 11, 2013
California has a love-hate relationship with wildfire. We can't live with it and can't live without it. For thousands of years, fire - caused mainly by lightning - was a natural part of the landscape, which evolved to thrive on and even require occasional blazes. The cones of the Tecate cypress, for example, a tree that grows only in Southern California and Baja Mexico, will open to release their seeds only after a scorching. Yet out-of-control fires also imperil property, homes and sometimes lives.
January 28, 2013 |
SANTA MARIA, Brazil - Brazilian police reportedly took four people into custody Monday in connection with a deadly nightclub fire that killed at least 231 people, as funerals began in the small town of Santa Maria. Two owners of the popular Kiss club and two members of the band that was performing at the time of the blaze early Sunday were being held for questioning, according to local press reports. The tragedy, meanwhile, put the country in a period of national mourning and self-reflection, with social networks and political discourse busy with commentary on the many issues facing Brazil, especially fire safety at night-life venues.
January 28, 2013 |
LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas firefighter Tim Szymanski has rushed to blazes at other people's homes for 43 years, the last 30 as a public information officer and education coordinator. The other day, he rushed to a fire at his own home. In an odd twist of fate, a faulty exhaust fan in a second-floor bathroom ignited a blaze Friday morning. Szymanski, who was out running errands with his wife and son at the time, saw the trucks hurrying down the road, lights flashing, sirens wailing.
November 27, 2012 |
U.S. companies are scrambling to figure out whether clothing they sell was made in the Bangladesh garment factory where at least 112 people died in a fire. Though officials are looking at arson as the cause, there are a number of allegations about the building and how it was operated that may have contributed to the death toll: dummy fire extinguishers, at least one locked door and bosses who ordered the employees back to work after fire alarms went off. There were no emergency exits.
June 28, 2012
The California Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation might just be the most important state agency that no one's ever heard of. It is about to revamp the state's flammability standards for furniture, a mundane-sounding subject that will have significant ramifications not just in California but nationally as well. After years of legislative inaction - and years of studies linking chemical flame retardants to a wide variety of health problems - Gov. Jerry Brown is calling for an administrative overhaul of a 37-year-old fire safety rule that was developed with limited information about the dangers of many flame retardants, or about their lack of effectiveness.
January 21, 2012 |
Federal safety regulators have given the Chevrolet Volt an all-clear. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Friday that it did not identify a safety defect, concluding that the car does not pose any unusual risk of fire. In closing the book on its investigation into Volts catching on fire, NHTSA also issued new guidelines for how emergency personnel and tow truck operators should deal with electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids that have been damaged in severe accidents.