Entries in Evacuation (13)


Evacuation Orders in Colorado Wildfire Will Be Slowly Lifted

Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) -- Authorities are placing the containment figure on the Black Forest fire at 45 percent, saying that evacuation orders will begin being slowly lifted.

The wildfire has destroyed nearly 500 homes and is being considered one of the most destructive in Colorado history. Nonetheless, officials are urging residents not to attempt to get around the evacuation orders. El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said, "When it is safe and we can open it up, we want to open it up."

Fire crews got a major break Friday after thunderstorms cooled the area down. Decreased winds have also helped to calm the situation, but fire officials say there are still hot spots that could be the catalyst for another fire to burn if drier conditions continue.

Police on Thursday began investigating the deaths of two people found within the fire zone as the wildfire turned deadly.

Two bodies were found in their garage near their car with the doors open Thursday. It appears they were loading last-minute items and had waited too long before evacuating, according to El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, who says friends told police they had just talked to the couple who died trying to escape the flames.

"They could see a glow to the West. They were packing their personal belongings to get out," Maketa says friends of the couple told authorities.

Though Maketa has given no indication that the fire was intentionally set to the home, the police have started a criminal investigation into the pair's deaths.

More than 40,000 people were under mandatory orders to evacuate on Thursday, some of which were lifted Friday. During early evacuations, some people refused to leave the area, prompting fears that more bodies could be found.

Sheriff Maketa said Thursday that approximately 38,000 people and 13,000 homes have already been evacuated or affected by the evacuations.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Connecticut Shooting: Threat Forces Evacuation of Newtown Church

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(NEWTOWN, Conn.) -- Members of the shattered community of Newtown, Conn., struggling to come to grips with the loss of 20 children and six adults massacred by Adam Lanza, faced a new shock Sunday when a threat was made against a church that many of the victims and their families attend.

The St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church was evacuated during a noon service as armed police officers swarmed around the area, after a church official became aware of a credible threat and alerted parishioners mid-service to exit the building.

About 1,000 people were gathered inside the church at the time observing one of four memorial services being held there.

Witnesses said police entered the church and told parishioners that a threat had been made against the church and the surrounding area and that everyone had to leave immediately.

More than a dozen state troopers armed with assault rifles entered the church's education center next to the church, but after a short time it was determined that threat was over.

Brian Wallace, director of communications for the Diocese of Bridgeport, said that after the massacre on Friday, he felt evacuation was a vital precaution to take.

"I don't think any of us could be surprised about anything after what has happened," Wallace said.

Meanwhile, police are working to understand what set Lanza off on his rampage.'

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


University of Texas, North Dakota U. and Valparaiso Disrupted by Threats

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A trio of universities were disrupted by violent threats this morning although all three campuses were later determined appear to be safe, according to the schools.

University of Texas president William Powers, Jr., said today that the school was "extremely confident" that the campus was safe and free of explosive devices as of 1 p.m. today, following a bomb threat placed to the school around 8:30 a.m.

Shortly after the University of Texas announced its bomb threat, North Dakota State University in Fargo, N.D., announced that it too had been the target of a bomb threat and was evacuating students. A third university, Valparaiso University in Indiana, announced that it had received a violent threat as well in the form of a graffiti message.

All three campuses have since been cleared. Officials said they do not yet know if the threats are related.

"There was always a question about the credibility of the threat. As you know there was a threat in North Dakota as well, so our evaluation continued, but we could not assure ourselves that this was not a credible threat, so we thought the prudent thing to do was clear the buildings," Powers said at a news conference today.

Around 8:30 a.m., the university received a phone call from someone with a Middle-Eastern accent who made an unspecific threat saying there were explosives in buildings on campus that would go off within 90 minutes to two hours, the university said. According to one message sent by the university to students, the man identified himself as part of Al Qaeda.

The university investigated the threats to evaluate their credibility before deciding to evacuate the campus buildings as a precaution, Powers said. Students were notified shortly before 10 a.m. to evacuate campus buildings.

Law enforcement officials then swept each building on campus to ensure that it was clear of any threats, Powers said.

Powers appeared along with the mayor of Austin, Lee Leffingwell, and chief of campus police, Robert Dahlstrom.

"We are very confident from working with state officials, our officials, and federal officials, we can't go into the details of why we know this, but we are extremely confident that the campus is safe," Powers said.

North Dakota State also cleared its buildings and residence halls of students, warning them that a bomb threat had been called into the school. Authorities there, aided by FBI officials, swept that campus to ensure there was no danger before reopening the campus this afternoon.

In Indiana, Valapraiso University also sent out an alert to students notifying them that a unspecified threat that might pose a danger to students during campus chapel time, around 11:15 a.m. The threat was made through graffiti, according to the school.

All three campuses announced that their schools were safe and clear of threats by 1:30 p.m.

The FBI said that it was helping local authorities investigate the threats and whether there was a connection among them.

In Texas, an FBI spokesman said that no arrests had been made yet but that law enforcement authorities were aggressively searching for the culprit.

"We are aggressively looking for this individual. We take these things pretty seriously for obvious reasons of public panic, the response of local authorities and that cost. We treat every one of these as if they're real until we know they are not," Erick Vasys.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bomb Threat at San Antonio International Airport Forces Evacuation

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SAN ANTONIO) -- San Antonio International Airport was evacuated when officials there received a “very specific threat” by phone early Wednesday afternoon, an airport spokesman said.

The threatening caller identified specific locations and a specific number of devices, airport spokesman Rich Johnson told ABC News – prompting a response from local law enforcement officials and the FBI.

The airport is comprised of two terminals, both of which were evacuated on Wednesday. Terminals A and B were searched and eventually cleared of any threat, according to ABC News affiliate KSAT-TV. Three vehicles were also swept and cleared by authorities.

[ VIEW KSAT-TV'S SLIDESHOW: San Antonio International Airport Evacuated ]

An average of 260 flights arrive and depart from the San Antonio International Airport every day, according to figures released by the airport at the end of 2011.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Colorado Wildfire Rages On, Forces 32,000 to Evacuate

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) -- About 32,000 people have been evacuated indefinitely from their homes near Colorado Springs, Colo., as a wildfire there continues to grow and threaten homes, officials said Tuesday night.

The Waldo Canyon blaze, which was described Tuesday night by Colorado Springs Fire Chief Richard Brown as a "firestorm of epic proportions," also prompted the closure of the Air Force Academy, where a new class of cadets are due to report on Thursday.  It is not yet known if that schedule still stands.

Authorities said 65 mile per hour winds and near 100 degree temperatures on Tuesday helped the fire spread and bust through lines of containment.

Wednesday's forecast won't offer much help either to the more than 800 firefighters who are battling the flames.  Temperatures are expected to reach the high 90s and no significant rain is in sight.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Colorado Wildfires Spread; Hundreds of Homes Evacuated

Stockbyte/John Foxx(DENVER) -- At least one person is dead after intense wildfires stretching up to 3,000 acres erupted Monday in Colorado's Front Range Foothills, about 25 miles southwest of Denver, according to the Jefferson County sheriff's office. 

Authorities have not released the name of the person who died or the circumstances around the death.  An investigation is currently underway.

So far, over 900 homes have been evacuated as the fire continues to spread, likely due to the dry, windy weather in the state.

The first evacuation was ordered Monday afternoon in the Pleasant Park area, where local schools have set up shelter for evacuated residents.  

The "Lower North Fork Fire," as it is being called, is among the worst of the fires and is burning in steep mountain canyon areas.  Firefighters responding to the blaze are up against winds between 20 and 30 mph.

Officials say they probably won't have a good idea about how many homes have been lost until daybreak.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nevada Fire Destroys 20 Homes in Reno; 10K Forced to Evacuate

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(RENO, Nev.) -- Authorities in Reno, Nev. are battling a wind-whipped brush fire that forced the evacuation of about 10,000 people and destroyed at least 20 homes.

The fire started about noon Thursday in an area near U.S. Highway 395. The highway is expected to remain closed on Friday.

The blaze has burned at least 3,700 acres.  Officials confirmed one fatality but said it was unclear whether it was fire related.

Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez said firefighters have stopped the progression of the fire, but there are still acres of hot spots.

"This is not to say that the fire is 100 percent contained and extinguished.  Only that the 'active burn' or the areas at the leading edge of the fire have been halted," he said.

But Hernandez said they were able to save 800 homes that were directly in the burn areas.

"To say we are in the thick of battle is an understatement," Hernandez told reporters at a news conference overnight.

The fire also cut short a speech by Vice President Joe Biden Thursday.  Biden was giving a speech at Galena High School about college costs when the school was evacuated.

"They have just told me if I don't let you guys get out of here relatively soon they're going to make you get out of here," Biden said.

Fire officials said Thursday's fire was similar to a fire that ripped through southwest Reno in November.  That fire also forced the evacuation of about 10,000 people.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Occupy Wall Street Protesters Cleared from Zuccotti Park

ABC NewsUPDATE: As of 5:00 a.m, Zuccotti Park has been cleared of protesters, Deputy Police Commissioner for Public Information Paul Browne said.

(NEW YORK) -- Close to 100 people were arrested early Tuesday morning as the New York Police Department cleared out Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan -- the main camp of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

City officials tell ABC News that protesters are being ordered to leave the park -- by some accounts, only temporarily.

Conflicts began early Tuesday -- the two month anniversary of the movement -- when the NYPD surrounded Zuccotti Park with officers in riot gear and broadcast by bullhorn the order for protesters to vacate the park, which was soon lit up with flood lights.  According to reports, police said they would arrest anyone who refused the order to leave.

Police officers in riot gear were seen pouring into the scene from all directions and sealing off the park.  Officers backed by additional vans filled with police were driving protesters forcefully north up Broadway, away from the park.

At least two spots of violent clashes were reported north of Zuccotti Park, while two arrest wagons were filled with protesters at Broadway, about two blocks north of the park.

At the park, the tents, street furniture and any possessions protesters refused to move were dismantled and tossed into dumpsters and open-topped city garbage trucks.

By 3:00 a.m., only about 40 protesters remained in the park, although hundreds were gathered in pockets nearby.  Protesters who vacated Zuccotti Park marched up to Foley Square, approximately 10 blocks north above City Hall.

The final group of protesters to be removed from the park -- about a dozen -- were chained to each other and to trees.  Authorities used portable power saws to sever the chains.  No trees were injured, police said.

A flyer that was handed out to protesters read: “The city has determined that the continued occupation of Zuccotti Park poses an increasing health and fire safety hazard to those camped in the park, the city’s first responders, and to the surrounding community.  You are required to immediately remove all property, including tents, sleeping bags and tarps from Zuccotti Park.  That means you must remove the property now.”

The flyer indicated that protesters would be allowed into the park “after a few hours” when the park has been cleaned, but they “will not be permitted to bring tents, sleeping bags, tarps and similar materials with you.”

A tweet at 1:20 a.m. ET from the official Twitter of the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg also confirmed the temporary evacuation: “Occupants of Zuccotti should temporarily leave and remove tents and tarps. Protestors can return after the Park is cleared. #ows.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hurricane Irene: Tornado Warnings Issued for New York City

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Tornado warnings have been issued in the New York City and southern New England regions as Hurricane Irene moves up the east coast of the United States leaving a path of debris and destruction that has claimed at least eight lives so far.

At least 3.1 million homes and businesses are without power while thousands have been evacuated from their homes and approximately 9,600 residents in New York City are currently in evacuation shelters as Irene moves north at maximum sustained winds reaching 80 miles per hour.

Over 270,000 in New York have lost power, while in New Jersey at least 460,000 statewide are without power. The National Grid is reporting that 19,000-plus homes in Rhode Island lost power while 6,000-plus homes are currently without power in Massachusetts.

In lower Manhattan at Wall Street and South Street water from New York's East River is already breaching the seawall. Work crews are swarming the area attempting to halt water from shoving down the streets, where it could affect transformers in lower Manhattan and flow into the subway system.

Irene made a landfall along the coast of New Jersey near Little Egg inlet, just north of Atlantic City, around 5:35 a.m. The estimated intensity of Irene at landfall was 75 mph.

It is the second time Irene made landfall since slamming into North Carolina Saturday.

The hurricane is expected to move near or over the mid-Atlantic coast this morning and on to southern New England by the afternoon. Forecasts indicate Irene will weaken after landfall in New England and become a post-tropical cyclone Sunday night or early Monday.

Irene has been traveling north right on schedule. If it continues as it has, the center of the storm will be 40 miles south of New York City at 7 a.m., still over the ocean, off the coast near Asbury Park, N.J.

By 9 a.m. the center of the storm will be just south of Queens, N.Y. and between 10 and 11 a.m. the landfall is expected to be somewhere east of Manhattan on the Queens-Nassau border.

The deaths reported so far included victims of car accidents and falling tree limbs. One man suffered a heart attack as he boarded up his house in North Carolina.

A Maryland woman was killed when a chimney fell on her house. The unnamed woman was not killed instantly and was transported to a hospital where she was later pronounced dead, according to the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Oklahoma City Airport Evacuated for Suspicious Package

FIle photo. Amos Morgan/Thinkstock(OKLAHOMA CITY) -- Authorities have evacuated parts of an Oklahoma City airport after a suspicious bag prompted concern, according to a spokesperson.

The ticket lobby, baggage claim level and concourse of the Will Rogers World Airport were evacuated Friday as a safety precaution.

All inbound flights have reportedly been put on hold as officials investigate.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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