Fire at Fargo hotel caused by overheated battery charger
A fire at a hotel on the city's south side was caused by an overheated battery charger, firefighters said Thursday. Fargo Fire Battalion Chief Lee Soeth said firefighters responded to a call about a small fire in one of the rooms at the Vista Inn at 3420 21st Avenue South at 8:50 p.m. Thursday. One crew found a small fire burning on top of a dresser and put it out while others searched the remaining rooms for occupants and removed smoke from the rest of the building. The smoke damage in the room with the fire displaced its occupant, who found another room elsewhere, said Soeth. An investigation by the Fire Department showed the fire was caused by a battery charger that was plugged in and had overheated. Damages are estimated at $6,000.
North Dakota PSC expected to ink deal with feds for state-run rail inspection program
North Dakota regulators have signed a deal with the Federal Railroad Administration that will allow the state to launch a rail safety program funded by the Legislature and proposed after a fiery oil train derailment near Casselton in 2013.
The agreement signed Wednesday will permit two rail safety inspectors employed by the North Dakota Public Service Commission to work with the FRA on track and mechanical inspections.
Thirty states have rail inspection programs to supplement the federal program, including neighboring Minnesota and Montana.
Commission chairwoman Julie Fedorchak said the advantage of a state-run program is that North Dakota’s inspectors will focus only on in-state track and can’t be pulled away to other states.
“It’s a big deal,” she said.
About 52 percent of the oil shipped in May from the Williston Basin went by rail, the state Pipeline Authority reported this month. Rail traffic increased 233 percent in North Dakota from 2005 to 2012 and has continued to climb since then, Fedorchak said, citing FRA data.
“That just increases the wear and tear on the track, and a large part of the increase is hazardous materials,” she said. “We want to have these folks out inspecting and finding problems before they cause an accident.”
Military dogs, fire station featured in Grand Forks Air Force Base tour
VIDEO: Zumba knew what was coming when he spotted Senior Airman Sara Yandell put on a bite suit. The 6-year-old Belgian Malinois pulled on his leash and, once released by handler Staff Sgt. Brandon Miller, dashed over to Yandell and chomped down on her arm. The bite was part of a training exercise, with the material of the suit protecting Yandell's arm. "He's really good about flipping that switch when it's time to work," Miller said of his partner, who happily chewed on a rubber toy. Zumba is one of nine military working dogs—the canines' official title—that train with handlers on the base to detect bombs and drugs. Some dogs, such as Zumba, are certified biters, which means the dog is trained to bite on command and maintain a grip until told to let go. Like their human counterparts, the dogs are deployed for service. Miller and Zumba spent seven months together as roommates during a recent deployment in Kuwait. Two of the base's dogs are serving on deployments now. Unlike civilian arrangements, such police department K-9 units, the military dogs live in a kennel on base and their handlers come and go as people are transferred to and from the base. "They have us here because of easy access—we're a midway point for the airfield," Haskamp said, adding the unmanned aircraft stationed at the base have caused few problems. Half of the fire trucks face doors that open to the airfield, while the other trucks exit toward the rest of the base. Two sets of fire gear also are available for firemen to use depending on the situation, with one set reserved for fighting aircraft fires that may burn at a higher temperature than a house fire. The fire department also has it's own 911 dispatch center and training center.
Grand Forks Herald