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Palo Alto Fire Possibly Arson

by bil | July 2nd, 2007

While the cause of the fire that destroyed a commercial building in Palo Alto last Sunday hasn’t been released, it has been deemed as a possible arson by the local authorities. The fire caused an estimated $2 million to $3 million in damage. There were no California fire and burn injuries reported in association with this fire.

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Fireworks put California fire officials on alert

by bil | June 29th, 2007

Dry winter presents potential for Fourth of July catastrophe

As many look forward to the Fourth of July, the Oakland Tribune reports that after a dry winter California fire officials are on alert and are gearing up for what could be a dangerous holiday.

After one of the driest winters in more than 15 years, California police and firefighters have a special message for any amateur pyrotechnics this year: When it comes to light shows, leave it to the pros.

California severely limits which fireworks can be sold. Only those deemed “safe and sane” by the state fire marshal — such as spinners and smoke devices — are allowed. In the Bay Area, only a handful of cities, including San Bruno, Pacifica, Dublin, Newark, Union City, Gilroy and Watsonville, permit either the sale or use of the “safe and sane” variety.

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Car trying to dodge California auto accident struck by 18 Wheeler on Interstate 880

by bil | June 27th, 2007

Driver sustained major head injuries

As reported in the Oakland Tribune, a man whose overturned car was struck by a big rig on Interstate 880 could not recall the crash after he was extricated from the vehicle and rushed to hospital Tuesday morning. Authorities continue to investigate the California auto accident.

The man was driving southbound just south of Thornton Avenue about 9:30 a.m. when he swerved, apparently to avoid hitting two vehicles in front of him that had collided, according to a California Highway Patrol Officer. But the swerving caused his car to overturn into the path of a moving big rig, police said. No other injuries were reported. Although the man remained conscious through the rescue effort, he was taken to the trauma center at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose to be treated for major head injuries.

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Local theme park reopens ride that may be linked to California wrongful death

by bil | June 25th, 2007

According to a story published in the San Francisco Chronicle, a ride at a the Great American theme park in Santa Clara reopened a ride similar to the one that malfunctioned several days ago at a theme park in Kentucky, which resulted in a girl’s feet being severed. The ride, called the Drop Zone, is 224 feet high and drops riders 120 feet. In 1999, the Drop Zone was brought into question during a California wrongful death suit after a 12-year-old boy was killed when he slipped out of the ride’s harness.

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San Francisco Zoo is at fault for last December’s gruesome tiger attack on a keeper

by bil | June 22nd, 2007

Woman suffered severe injuries and has undergone several surgeries

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that according to a probe by the California workplace safety agency the San Francisco Zoo is at fault for last December’s gruesome tiger attack on a keeper.

“It was obvious that any of the cats could reach through or under the bars and that a potential hazard zone extended approximately 18 inches from the cage face,” concluded the report by California’s Division of Occupation Safety and Health.

Lori Komejan was mauled by a 350-pound Siberian tiger, on the afternoon of Dec. 22, as dozens of horrified visitors watched. The incident occurred inside the Lion House after a routine public feeding of the big cats.

The investigation said zoo officials were aware that hazardous conditions existed at the Lion House, closed since Komejan was injured. Cal-OSHA ordered changes — which already have been made — in the setup of the cages and wants to impose an $18,000 penalty, which the zoo can appeal.

Investigators found that the zoo was also remiss because employees were not trained in procedures that would ensure safety and compliance, such as a buddy system, or the use of specialized equipment — for example, extension tools, noise devices or repellent sprays.

Investigators could not speak with Komejan, who spent weeks in San Francisco General Hospital and underwent several surgeries. The report said her injuries were initially too severe to permit an interview. Later, the 46-year-old Peninsula resident, an accomplished artist, declined to talk because she had filed a legal claim.


DA accuses UC Berkeley graduate of negligence in Auto Accident

by bil | June 22nd, 2007

According to news reports in the San Francisco Chronicle the 26-year-old University of California, Berkeley, graduate student driving the car involved in a crash that killed award-winning journalist David Halberstam in April faces misdemeanor criminal charges in the accident, the San Mateo County.

San Mateo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said Kevin Jones will be charged with vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. He faces up to a year in county jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted.

Wagstaffe said, “Our belief is that the conduct engaged by Mr. Jones in going through a red light and turning into oncoming traffic that resulted in the death of Mr. Halberstam was more than simply a mistake. It was negligence that caused the auto accident that lead to the death of another human being and that warranted a criminal charge.”