Monday, June 21, 2010

Sweden’s first royal wedding since 1976 took place Saturday when Crown Princess Victoria, 32, married her long-time boyfriend and former personal trainer, Daniel Westling, 36. The ceremony took place at Stockholm Cathedral.

Over 1,200 guests, including many rulers, politicians, royals and other dignitaries from across the world, attended the wedding, which cost an estimated 20 million Swedish kronor. Victoria wore a wedding dress with five-metre long train designed by Pär Engsheden. She wore the same crown that her mother, Queen Silvia, wore on her wedding day 34 years previously, also on June 19. Victoria’s father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, walked Victoria down the aisle, which was deemed untraditional by many. In Sweden, the bride and groom usually walk down the aisle together, emphasising the country’s views on equality. Victoria met with Daniel half-way to the altar, where they exchanged brief kisses, and, to the sounds of the wedding march, made their way to the the silver altar. She was followed by ten bridesmaids. The couple both had tears in their eyes as they said their vows, and apart from fumbling when they exchanged rings, the ceremony went smoothly.

Following the ceremony, the couple headed a fast-paced procession through central Stockholm on a horse-drawn carriage, flanked by police and security. Up to 500,000 people are thought to have lined the streets. They then boarded the Vasaorden, the same royal barge Victoria’s parents used in their wedding, and traveled through Stockholm’s waters, accompanied by flyover of 18 fighter jets near the end of the procession. A wedding banquet followed in the in the Hall of State of the Royal Palace.

Controversy has surrounded the engagement and wedding between the Crown Princess and Westling, a “commoner”. Victoria met Westling as she was recovering from bulemia in 2002. He owned a chain of gymnasiums and was brought in to help bring Victoria back to full health. Westling was raised in a middle-class family in Ockelbo, in central Sweden. His father managed a social services centre, and his mother worked in a post office. When the relationship was made public, Westling was mocked as an outsider and the king was reportedly horrified at the thought of his daughter marrying a “commoner”, even though he did so when he married Silvia. Last year, Westling underwent transplant surgery for a congenital kidney disorder. The Swedish public have been assured that he will be able to have children and that his illness will not be passed on to his offspring.

Westling underwent years of training to prepare for his new role in the royal family, including lessons in etiquette, elocution, and multi-lingual small talk; and a makeover that saw his hair being cropped short, and his plain-looking glasses and clothes being replaced by designer-wear.

Upon marrying the Crown Princess, Westling took his wife’s ducal title and is granted the style “His Royal Highness”. He is now known as HRH Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland. He also has his own coat-of-arms and monogram. When Victoria assumes the throne and becomes Queen, Daniel will not become King, but assume a supportive role, similar to that of Prince Phillip, the husband of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II.



Thursday, November 8, 2007

India is the latest of the countries where the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) experiment has started. Children from the village of Khairat were given the opportunity to learn how to use the XO laptop. During the last year XO was distributed to children from Arahuay in Peru, Ban Samkha in Thailand, Cardal in Uruguay and Galadima in Nigeria. The OLPC team are, in their reports on the startup of the trials, delighted with how the laptop has improved access to information and ability to carry out educational activities. Thailand’s The Nation has praised the project, describing the children as “enthusiastic” and keen to attend school with their laptops.

Recent good news for the project sees Uruguay having ordered 100,000 of the machines which are to be given to children aged six to twelve. Should all go according to plan a further 300,000 machines will be purchased by 2009 to give one to every child in the country. As the first to order, Uruguay chose the OLPC XO laptop over its rival from Intel, the Classmate PC. In parallel with the delivery of the laptops network connectivity will be provided to schools involved in the project.

The remainder of this article is based on Carla G. Munroy’s Khairat Chronicle, which is available from the OLPC Wiki. Additional sources are listed at the end.

Contents

  • 1 India team
  • 2 Khairat
    • 2.1 The town school
  • 3 The workplace
  • 4 Marathi
  • 5 The teacher
  • 6 Older children, teenagers, and villagers
  • 7 The students
  • 8 Teacher session
  • 9 Parents’ meetings
  • 10 Grounding the server
  • 11 Every child at school
  • 12 Sources
  • 13 External links


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

In findings published Sunday in Environmental International, a team from Britain’s University of Exeter reports that surfers and bodyboarders are roughly three times as likely to house antibiotic-resistant Escherichia coli and other bacteria that could easily become resistant, than other people who recreate in the coastal waters of the United Kingdom.

The epidemiological study was nicknamed the “Beach Bum Survey”. The project was performed on 143 regular surfers, body surfers and bodyboarders from around the United Kingdom. Each surfgoing participant was asked to recruit a non-surfing friend of the same sex and approximate age and who lived in the same part of the country to serve as a control, which resulted in a control group of 130.

All participants mailed in rectal swabs, and the researchers cultured the E. coli from those samples with a common antibiotic called cefotaxime. The antibiotic failed to kill the bacteria in about 9% (13 out of 143) of surfer and bodyboarder samples and 3% of the samples from the control group (4 out of 130). A deeper look into the genomes of the specific strains of bacteria found in the study volunteers showed that bacteria from surfers were four times as likely to possess genes that can be transferred from one bacterial strain to another, which can help antibiotic-susceptible bacteria become resistant. The study also involved examination of water samples from the coasts of England and Wales to estimate the risk of surfers and other beachgoers ingesting E. coli.

E. coli is a regular resident in the guts of humans and other animals. Most strains are harmless but others can cause serious disease. Like other bacteria, E. coli can undergo horizontal gene transfer, swapping genes from one bacterium to another. This can give the altered strain the ability to cause disease, survive in the presence of antibiotics or both.

Although the researchers expressed concern surfers might spread dangerous bacteria, Dr. Will Gaze, the University of Exeter Medical School professional who supervised the project, urged people not to avoid the beach: “We are not seeking to discourage people from spending time in the sea, an activity which has a lot of benefits in terms of exercise, well-being and connecting with nature”, he said. “It is important that people understand the risks involved so that they can make informed decisions about their bathing and sporting habits. We now hope that our results will help policy-makers, beach managers, and water companies to make evidence-based decisions to improve water quality even further for the benefit of public health.”

David Smith, science and policy officer of Surfers Against Sewage, which helped organise the volunteers, agreed the study was not meant to discourage surfing: “Water quality in the UK has improved vastly in the past 30 years and is some of the cleanest in Europe. Recognising coastal waters as a pathway for antibiotic resistance can allow policy makers to make changes to protect water users and the wider public from the threat of antibiotic resistance.”

One of the principal findings of this work was that existing methods may have been underestimating the prevalence of these bacteria in seawater. Previous studies have shown that even designated swimming beaches can be affected by runoff from farms or even sewage, and surfers swallow roughly ten times as much seawater as swimmers. Professor Colin Gardner of the charity Antibiotic Research UK says, these forms of runoff can have even higher concentrations of antibiotics than patients undergoing antibiotic treatment. “Research into new medicines to replace our archaic antibiotics has stagnated and unless new treatments are found, this could be potentially devastating for human health”, he warns.

The World Health Organization has reported that because so many kinds of bacteria are gaining resistance to common medicines, conditions such as pneumonia and gonnorhea may become more difficult to treat and have higher rates of sickness and death. Doctors often prescribe preventative antibiotics to patients undergoing surgery or radiation therapy, and this may also be impacted. Professor Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer, has described a “post-antibiotic apocalypse” scenario

The European Regional Development Fund and Natural Environment Research Council provided funding for the study.



Sunday, January 27, 2019

In findings published earlier this month in Ecological Applications, scientists from the University of Washington and Center for Ecosystem Sentinels examine the reason for the plummeting numbers of female Magellanic penguins, Spheniscus magellanicus, that have been reported at the birds’ breeding sites in South America over the past twenty years and more. Wikinews caught up with postdoctoral researcher and study co-author Natasha Gownaris to learn more.

In a press release, Gownaris said, “Two decades ago, there were about 1.5 adult male Magellanic penguins for every adult female at Punta Tombo[…] Today, it’s approaching three males for every female.” The findings suggested a disparity in the death rate of juvenile and adult penguins, rather than differences in chick survival, account for this difference.

Punta Tombo is one of the annual breeding sites for the species; it is in Argentina. The penguins travel thousands of miles each year to reach these sites.

The work involved building population models out of over thirty years of data collected by tagging individual penguins. Findings also suggested the pronounced sex disparity might make population models used to predict survival among other birds with a more even gender balance inappropriate for use on Megallanic penguins.

According to the data, since 1987, overall population of Magellanic penguins in Punta Tombo at one of their annual breeding sites in Argentina has declined 40%, while the male-to-female ratio has greatly increased.

Since 1983, the research team has been putting stainless steel bands on tens of thousands of chicks hatched at the Punta Tombo breeding site in Argentina, noting which juvenile and adult birds make it back to the site the next year and extrapolating how many lived and died. Among juveniles, there was a 17% survival rate for males and 12% for females. Among adults, it was 89% and 85%. These effects became compounded every year, reaching as high as six males to one female among older penguins.

The researchers noted implications for penguin conservation: Gownaris remarked, “Over the years, this team has helped preserve the land and waters around breeding colonies like Punta Tombo[…] But now we’re starting to understand that, to help Magellanic penguins, you have to protect waters where they feed in winter, which are thousands of miles north from Punta Tombo.”

Gownaris answered a series of questions for our correspondent.

((Wikinews)) What prompted your curiosity about Magellanic penguins?

Natasha Gownaris: I’ve wanted to be a marine scientist since I was a child, when I would collect sand crabs (Emerita talpoida) from local beaches in New York. I studied fish as a graduate student, but I have a pair of adopted parrots and I am generally fascinated by birds. Plus, penguins eat fish! Studying penguins seemed like a great way to merge my love for the ocean and my love for birds. Penguins and other seabirds are also important to study because they tell us something about the health of the ocean ecosystems they feed in, similar to the use of canaries to test air quality in coal mines. Unfortunately, the decline of many seabird species worldwide is yet another warning sign of the negative and widespread impacts humans are having on the ocean.

((WN)) How did you approach putting together such a large-scale study?

NG: This study started in 1982, long before my joining the lab in March of 2016. Dr. Dee Boersma began this study as a response to a Japanese company’s interest in harvesting penguins for their skin, meat, and oil. Although the project has evolved over time, Dr. Boersma had the foresight to start banding chicks in 1983 and to set up a standard protocol that we follow each year. Since then, over 44,000 chicks have been banded at Punta Tombo. We’ve been able to follow some individuals for 30+ years, collecting detailed information on things like how often they breed and how many mates they’ve had.

((WN)) How much time did you end up spending in Argentina? What was it like at the breeding site?

NG: Members of the Boersma lab and volunteers spend approximately six months each year at Punta Tombo. I was fortunate enough to spend nearly four months at the colony between 2015 and 2017. It’s an incredible, otherworldly place. Magellanic penguins nest in burrows or bushes, and some areas of the colony are so dense with burrows that you feel like you’re on a different planet. The colony has declined by over 40% since the study started…so I can’t even imagine what it was like in the 1980s. My favorite time of the day is around 8PM, when (hopefully fat) penguins are returning to the colony en masse after a foraging trip. They are also most vocal in the morning and evening, making their characteristic braying sound— the related African penguin earned the name “jackass penguin” because they sound a bit like donkeys. The colony is also full of other beautiful and interesting creatures, including a llama-like species called the guanaco and an ostrich-like species called the rhea.

I was fortunate enough to spend nearly four months at the colony between 2015 and 2017. It’s an incredible, otherworldly place.

((WN)) Do you have any theories on why more female juveniles die at sea? You mention starvation; what might be the causes of that, and are there other possible explanations you can think of?

NG: We are not yet certain why females are more likely to die, but we think it must be related to their smaller body size. Because the mortality is most uneven in juveniles, higher mortality doesn’t seem to be related to greater costs of breeding for females than for males. Female Magellanic penguins are about 17% lighter than males and have smaller bills. We think that, because of this size difference, females have a lower storage capacity, can’t dive as deep, and can’t take as wide a range of prey as males — all disadvantages when faced with limited and unpredictable food resources. These disadvantages hit juvenile females even harder, as juveniles are still learning how to forage and often travel further than adults do in the non-breeding season. Counts of carcasses in the species’ migration range support starvation as the main cause of female-biased mortality; while oiled carcasses have a sex ratio of 1:1, females outnumber males in carcasses of starved birds. The only other possibility is that females are moving to other colonies at higher rates than are males, but this species is known to almost always return to its natal colony to breed.

((WN)) You suggest conservation efforts should look at protection of feeding grounds. What sort of measures do you think might be beneficial?

NG: Because penguins migrate such long distances over the non-breeding season, a mixture of tools (including no-take marine protected areas and traditional fisheries management tools, like catch limits) is likely to be needed. Although there is currently some spatial protection surrounding the species’ breeding colony, this protection does not extend to their migratory route. And, of course, everyone can contribute to penguin conservation by reducing their plastic waste, making more sustainable food choices, and reducing their carbon footprint.

((WN)) What do you think might be causing pressure on food sources for the penguins?

NG: The two main threats to the food sources of this colony are climate change, which cause shifts in primary productivity and fish stocks, and fisheries. Fisheries compete with penguins for fish species such as hake and anchovy.

((WN)) Have you noticed differences in behavior among the penguins as the ratios become increasingly skewed?

NG: In a separate study currently under review, we have shown that aggression between males of Magellanic penguins is higher when the sex ratio at the colony is more skewed towards males. We also showed that nearly all females at the colony breed but that, over time, fewer and fewer males find mates. Single male penguins sometimes intrude [on] nests of mated pairs and interrupt the incubation of eggs or feeding of chicks, leading to mortality. In some cases, they will even attack and kill chicks.

((WN)) Your release mentioned sexing the penguins was problematic; how did you achieve it with confidence?

NG: We have some methods of sexing penguins that we feel confident about — using genetics or measures of cloaca size around egg laying, for example. However, these methods are time intensive, so we have also developed visual cues for sex penguins (bill size, behavior, forehead shape). We looked at individuals that had been sexed using both a certain method (e.g. genetics) and visual methods to calculate how often we got it right based on visual cues alone and found that we have very high accuracy. We also used statistical tools to help to deal with uncertainty in the sex of some individuals.

((WN)) How well can you extrapolate population trends at Punta Tombo based on the birds you tagged? More broadly, how well do you think this work represents global populations?

everyone can contribute to penguin conservation by reducing their plastic waste, making more sustainable food choices, and reducing their carbon footprint

NG: It is likely that females have higher mortality than males at other colonies of this species and in other penguin species. We unfortunately do not have enough information from other colonies of this species (e.g. sex ratio and population trends) for an accurate global assessment of population trends. We do know that some colonies of the species are growing but that, at the global level, the species is still in decline.

((WN)) In your opinion, for how much longer are penguin populations sustainable without intervention?

NG: This is nearly impossible to answer without more information on other colonies of the species, but the Punta Tombo colony is declining rapidly. We estimate declines of at least 43% since 1987 from our annual surveys at the colony, but it is likely that actual declines are higher because of the increasingly skewed sex ratio.

((WN)) What are your next plans moving forward with your work?

NG: We are currently studying the sex ratio in Magellanic penguin chicks (at hatching and at fledging) to determine how this influences the sex ratio in adults. There are two priorities moving forward — 1) estimating sex ratio at other colonies of this species and determining whether females are more likely to leave Punta Tombo for other colonies than are males and 2) determining the mechanisms underlying lower female survival, e.g. by studying the foraging behavior and diet of males and females and the individual characteristics (like body size) that correlate with survival.



Saturday, April 26, 2008

A New Zealand teenager’s conversion of the popular Grand Theft Auto (GTA) video game is gaining popularity and the New Zealand Police are unhappy at their portrayal. Stacy O’Callaghan talked to Wikinews’ Gabriel Pollard about his mod.

The police cars and the police officers have been given a makeover to resemble the New Zealand versions. The planes were branded Air New Zealand, and ambulances were converted to match the local Wellington scheme, among various other changes.

The Beehive, Te Papa and the Sky Tower are looking to be added to the game also. O’Callaghan says, “We actually have the models for these buildings but haven’t figured out how to import them into the game.

“Theres plenty more to come, but thats our progress so far.”

Despite media reports stating the Police were investigating whether or not the mod breached the law prohibiting the unauthorised use of police insignia, O’Callaghan has not heard from the Police at all. He says that if the Police did contact him with their concerns then he might consider taking the download offline. “If people want to start getting all legal and stuff, then I will just remove it.

“I don’t want to offend anyone, I don’t hate NZ Police, I think they are actually one of the best Police forces in the world.”

The 17-year-old has said that his total conversion mod for the San Andreas version of GTA is “fairly popular”. “The mod has been fairly popular considering NZ’s population, and considering NZ’ers aren’t exactly game mod fanatics,” O’Callaghan says. He says the latest version of the mod he uploaded has so far had 466 downloads.

He has made the mod publicly available for any gamer who wants to play the New Zealand-branded version of the game and enjoy the game as much as he now does. O’Callaghan says he doesn’t want to make money off the game change.

The original plan was for the GTA modification to only transform the police cars into New Zealand branded cars but was later extended when O’Callaghan was contacted by other developers. He says, “I originally started with just the police cars back in November last year and left it at that, and then after uploading it people came to me saying they wanted to help out with it and so about a couple of months ago we started making this total conversion.”

O’Callaghan says in the future he would like to join the New Zealand Police and work in computer forensics, failing that he’d like to go into the IT industry.



Saturday, July 5, 2008

Chemicals in the Thompson River were said to be found after four Canadian Pacific Railway (CP Rail) cars containing chemicals derailed near Lytton, British Columbia, Canada on Tuesday night.

The derailment occurred just northeast of Lytton when a landslide hit in the middle of a freight train with about 100 cars at around 7:00 pm PDT (02:00 UTC) Tuesday evening. One car remained on the tracks, another was on a river bank, and two were submerged in the Thompson, one of them fully submerged and the other partially submerged. CP states that the cars were carrying the chemical ethylene glycol, commonly found in products such as antifreeze and windshield washer fluid. Glycol is water soluble and biodegradable but is causing concern to local fisheries and people dependent on aquatic life survival. Even though there is not enough chemical to be toxic after dilution in the water, there is still expressed concern that it may cause additional stress to aquatic life.

Despite protective measures, like a protective double hull, investigations found that broken valves and holes are causing the chemical to leak into the river. CP Rail originally denied that any chemical was leaking, but is now driving efforts to plug the leaks.

The Thompson River is a tributary of the larger Fraser River. The area is sensitive to harm because migrating salmon pass through and are in already in dwindling numbers in recent years.



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05 11th, 2019
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05 11th, 2019

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The mystery of the location of a viewpoint used by English painter John Constable has been solved, after nearly 200 years. The Stour Valley and Dedham Church was painted in Suffolk, England, between 1814 and 1815, but changes to the landscape meant that the spot he chose was not known, despite the best efforts of historians and art experts.

Now the puzzle has been answered. Martin Atkinson, who works for the National Trust as property manager for East Suffolk, used clues from the painting and looked at old maps to track down the viewpoint. Trees had grown, a hedgerow had been planted and boundaries had moved or disappeared, but Atkinson eventually worked out where Constable had stood. He said, “When I discovered that I had worked out the location where Constable painted this particular masterpiece, I couldn’t believe it. All the pieces of the jigsaw finally fitted together.”

Atkinson used an 1817 map of East Bergholt, where Constable grew up, as a reference point, but found that the view would have changed not long after the painting was completed. “The foreground didn’t fit at all, it was quite unusual as we know Constable painted it in the open air so he would have been standing in the scene. The hedgerow in his work no longer exists and there’s another hedgerow that runs across the scene today which wasn’t there. When you stand on the road on which he would have stood, and use the oak tree as a reference point, you see the same view. It’s great to see where an old master stood – and be inspired by the same view,” he said.

Suffolk, where Constable painted many of his finest paintings, is often called “Constable country”. Most, but not all, of the locations that Constable depicted are known. The picture is now housed in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts.



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05 10th, 2019

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Turkish police arrested two colonels and two lieutenants Saturday as part of a wide-reaching probe into a suspected coup plot. The arrests are the latest related to an alleged clandestine neonationalist organization referred to as “Ergenekon“. The Ergenekon case has had adverse effects on financial markets in Turkey, a candidate for the European Union.

Turkey’s state-run news service, Anatolian News, reported that the four Turkish army officers were arrested in Istanbul for alleged ties to a right-wing group suspected of conspiring to overthrow the AK Party government. 40 people were detained on Wednesday, including three retired army generals.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an and General Ilker Basbug, Chief of the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces, held crisis talks on Thursday to discuss the recent waves of arrests. General Basbug met with the prime minister after a six-hour meeting with military commanders, including members of the Gendarmerie, Turkish Air Force, and Army. After his meeting with the prime minister, General Basbug met with President Abdullah Gul. President Abdullah Gul met with Besir Atalay, Turkey’s interior minister.

The talks between Erdogan and Basbug prompted a spate of selling on the Istanbul Stock Exchange, which fell by six percent on Thursday. TUSIAD, the main business association in Turkey, voiced its hope that investigators respect the legal rights of the suspects.

Turkish media also reported Saturday that law enforcement officials found ammunition and grenades buried near Golbasi lake outside Ankara, supposedly related to the Ergenekon organization. According to the Turkish media reports, police found a drawing in the home of former police chief Ibrahim Sahin, which led them to the site. Ibrahim Sahin was among the 40 individuals arrested Wednesday.

This is a regime change, like in the Khomeini and Hitler eras.

Deniz Baykal, who heads Turkey’s secular chief opposition party the Republican People’s Party, was critical of the arrests made by police under the AK Party government. “We are witnessing a confrontation against the Republic’s core values. This is a regime change, like in the Khomeini and Hitler eras,” said Baykal at a news conference held Wednesday. According to Baykal, the Ergenekon investigation is an attempt by the government to silence opposition. Other members of the opposition have also criticized the investigation as being politically motivated.

In a statement published in the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet, Justice Minister Mehmet Ali ?ahin asserted that the Ergenekon investigation is judicial and appropriate. “The investigation has no political aspects. Detentions are purely juridical. I follow developments from the press,” said ?ahin.

I am terrified here – anytime the wind is not in favor of the ruling party a new wave of this crap happens.

Wikinews interviewed a college graduate and resident of Turkey who wished not to be named, and this individual shared thoughts on the effects of the Ergenekon investigation on local citizens. “It affected everyone in the country. Everyone wonders if they are next,” said the source. “I am terrified here – anytime the wind is not in favor of the ruling party a new wave of this crap happens.”

Members of the Turkish state bureaucracy, military, and judicial system make up the country’s secularist establishment. According to Reuters, this secularist establishment states that the arrests carried out by the AK Party are retaliatory, in response to a 2008 court case. The court case attempted to ban the AK Party, which has roots in political Islam, for anti-secular activities. The AK Party has denied these claims.

The risk of a reaction by the military is growing as the Ergenekon probe is turning into a test of strength between the AKP and secularist circles.

“The risk of a reaction by the military is growing as the Ergenekon probe is turning into a test of strength between the AKP and secularist circles,” said analyst Wolfango Piccoli of the Eurasia Group in a statement published in the Financial Times.

The investigation by the government began in June 2007, when officials discovered a cache of arms in Istanbul in the home of a retired military officer. According to The Guardian, in total approximately 200 people have been arrested in relation to the investigation. 86 individuals have been indicted since the investigation started, including many officials from the military and two retired four-star generals. In addition to military officials, the investigation has focused on journalists, writers, politicians and leaders of gangs. The murder of journalist Hrant Dink is sometimes cited as possibly linked to the Ergenekon case.

The indictments allege involvement in plans to increase instability in the country through political assassinations. Hürriyet reported that the Ergenekon investigation has faced criticism in the past for detaining suspects for extended periods of time in prison without charges, and for its reliance on insubstantial evidence. In the past 50 years, the country’s military has intervened to topple four governments in Turkey.



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05 10th, 2019

Monday, May 14, 2007

Buffalo, New York —A massive warehouse complex of at least 5 buildings caught on fire in Buffalo, New York on 111 Tonawanda Street, sending a plume of thick, jet black colored smoke into the air that could be seen as far away as 40 miles.

As of 6:40 a.m., the fire was under control, and firefighters were attempting to stop it from spreading, but could not get to the center of the fire because of severe amounts of debris. Later in the morning, the fire was extinguished.

“The fire is mostly under debris at this point. It’s under control, but it’s under some debris. We really can’t get to it. We’re just going to have to keep on pouring water on it so it doesn’t spread,” said Thomas Ashe, the fire chief for the North Buffalo based fire division who also added that at one point, at least 125 firefighters were on the scene battling the blaze. One suffered minor injures and was able to take himself to the hospital to seek medical attention.

Shortly after 8:00 p.m. as many as 3 explosions rocked the warehouse sending large mushroom clouds of thick black smoke into the air. After the third explosion, heat could be felt more than 100 feet away. The fire started in the front, one story building then quickly spread to three others, but fire fighters managed to stop the flames from spreading onto the 3 story building all the way at the back.

According to a Buffalo Police officer, who wished not to be named, the fire began at about 7:00 p.m. [Eastern time], starting as a one alarm fire. By 8:00 p.m., three fire companies were on the scene battling the blaze. Police also say that a smaller fire was reported in the same building on Saturday night, which caused little damage.

At the start of the fire, traffic was backed up nearly 4 miles on the 198 expressway going west toward the 190 Interstate and police had to shut down the Tonawanda street exit because the road is too close to the fire.

At one point, traffic on the 198 was moving so slow, at least a dozen people were seen getting out of their cars and walking down the expressway to watch the fire. That prompted as many as 10 police cars to be dispatched to the scene to force individuals back into their cars and close off one of the 2 lanes on the westbound side.

One woman, who wished not to be named as she is close to the owner of the warehouse, said the building is filled with “classic cars, forklifts, and money” and that owner “does not have insurance” coverage on the property. The building is not considered abandoned, but firefighters said that it is vacant.

Officials in Fort Erie, Ontario were also swamped with calls to fire departments when the wind blew the smoke over the Niagra River and into Canada.

It is not known what caused the fire, but a car is suspected to have caught on fire and there are reports from police and hazmat crews, that there were also large barrels of diesel fuel being stored in one building. Firefighters say the cause of the blaze is being treated as “suspicious.” The ATF is investigating the fire and will bring dogs in to search the debris.



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