Category: Disasters


Driving on expressways is fast, hectic and at times nerve wracking. If you occasionally use Chicago’s expressways you know exactly what I mean. Driving the city streets the traffic is often times bumper to bumper and the city driver feels a sense of freedom in the speed they experience when they drive the tollway. It is said that they fly like demons and in some ways they do.

Chicago drivers on the expressway drive as if the road were free and clear. They don’t seem to see anyone in front, beside or behind them. There is even a move that according to one New York driver is unique to the Windy City, the three-lane crossover. Without hesitation and with no turn signal the driver will notice at the last second that their exit ramp has come up and they cross three lanes of heavily laden traffic and the possibility of sudden death to make their exit. If they notice the sudden sound of screeching, burning rubber and squealing brakes they don’t show it. They drive fearlessly like a cat with double its nine lives. Why they think this behavior is no big deal remains a mystery to all safe drivers.

For the thousands of drivers who transverse these paths every day and the dozens of lunatic drivers who cross them up, it would seem luck is with them but luck only lasts so long and goes so far. July 20th of this year luck ended for two drivers as Dennis Anderson changed lanes unexpectedly in his Pontiac coupe leaving no room for Tito M. Rodriquez’s motorcycle. The two collided and Rodriquez, an off duty police officer was killed.

Anderson paid for his crime with a ticket for improper lane use and invalid insurance. Those will soon go away but the memory of taking a life will haunt him for the rest of his. The event is still under investigation.

 

Source: Chicago Tribune Monday July 21, 2014, Section 1, Page 9

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Who can say why some things happen but what happens later is oft times an even bigger problem. In the Chicago northwest suburban town of Crystal Lake, ILL Thursday was garbage day. Amid the still sleepy drivers headed to work who wished it were Saturday garbage trucks rumbled up and down the streets.

The regular routine of one truck came to a sudden change when smoke and flames began to spark from its belly. The police and fire department were called around 6:30 in the morning to this unusual haul being driven down Route 14.

The story quickly changed again as the truck turned northward onto the Route 31 ramp the fire contents were emptied accidentally onto the side of the road and the nearby grass licked it up hungrily. Firefighters worked for twenty minutes to put the brush fire out but at seven that morning they were still working to put the smoldering garbage pile down. These hot spots of rubbish had no intension of giving up but the men where just as determined.

That morning drivers found a detour at the closed ramp and a very unusual sight. What caused the fire was a mystery. It could have been a teen’s prank to set a garbage can at the curb on fire or it could have been an early morning jogger throwing out a spent cigarette that wasn’t quite out. However it could have been a total accident. We’ll never know but the image of a garbage truck’s contents on fire will not soon leave our retinas.

 

Source: Northwest Herald, Friday April 11, 2014 – Page B2

There has always been a fascination between children and trains? How fast is it going? How much does it weigh? Will it really flatten a penny? The answer is simple. Trains go fast, they weigh a lot and they will flatten a penny.

As we get older our questions change to, ‘What if’s.’ What would happen if the tracks froze? What would happen if a car where on the tracks? How about a tire? Would that be a problem? If the tracks freeze the train goes on, if it hits a car it’ll spin the vehicle and stop when it can but it’ll stay on the tracks.

Unlike the penny that simply gets flattened, a tire on the tracks is an entirely new deal. If it hadn’t been proven before, it was a few months ago when a Chicago train encountered just such an issue. The Blue Line train left the city headed to Forest Park. At approximately 7:40 p.m ., they left the West Side station at Cicero Avenue. Shortly there after, the train encountered a very out of the ordinary problem.

There on the tracks was a semi trailer truck tire. With the tire suddenly in the driver’s vision there was no time to stop. Only Superman could see a tire a mile away and it takes a mile for a train to stop completely. With nothing to do but move forward train and tire hit head on. The result? The front car of the train derailed! The score? Tire 1, Train 0. The tire won.

As of the source date there were no injuries reported. The passengers were shuttled to the next station and the tale of the tire had come to a full circle. Pun intended.

 

Source: Chicago Tribune, Friday April 11, 2014 – Section 1, Page 9

Driving down the road we don’t usually think, “I’m fine because I’m buckled in,” or “I’d feel safer if my belt were on.” If we think about wearing a safety belt at all it’s usually because we don’t want to be stopped by the police for not wearing one. We think of the money getting stopped is going to cost us and not of the health and safety reason why we should buckle up.

Recently a six-year study found that of 200,000 fatal passenger vehicle crashes, people who were of larger than normal weight were 66% more likely not to be wearing a seat belt. The safety standard for seat belts went into affect in the 1960’s. At the time seat belts were required to service people up to 215 pounds. Today’s American population has grown not only in size of population but in physical girth as well. We’ve reached beyond the 215-pound capacity seat belt and now passengers find it difficult to near impossible to put the belt on.

We don’t need new laws. What we need to do is adjust the regulatory needs of the safety belt so that people who are larger will be safe.

Source: Chicago Tribune – Sunday, February 2, 2014 – Section 1, Page 24

Destruction in a ball of Flickering, Fantastic Flames.

 

For many towns there is a claim to fame. Though these could all be good things, most often they aren’t.
Fire is the chief source of destruction. It finds its way to the poorest and the riches city’s. At times it is the great equalizer for it does not consider anything to be inferior, least of all, itself.
To that end, we can find small town America on fire anywhere, every day. Some are small and only consume a single house, while others take the whole block, district, town or the countryside.

Chicago and San Francisco are the most well known fires here in America but there are dozens of town fires that are just as interesting that we have never heard of before. While that may not be right, it certainly is true.

You tell me. Have you ever lived in a town that didn’t have a fire in it? Have you heard about the great fire that ate a good portion of the town before rain or stringent firemen were able to put it out? I’m sure you have.

 

Share those memories with me. Great or small, they all deserve to be told.

DJ Marcussen

I love disaster flicks.  Show me a movie where a chunk of humanity is catastrophically destroyed and I’m a happy camper.

Who can forget The Andromeda Strain (epidemic catastrophe).  Or Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (extraterrestrial copy machines).

Armageddon, an asteroid catastrophe starring Bruce Willis as the over-protective father of Liv Tyler (who’s caught doing “the nasty” with Ben Affleck).  Or OutBreak, where the dynamic duo of Dustin Hoffman and Rene Russo battle both an epidemic AND a government cover-up.

Then there’s Deep Impact (Tea Leoni, Robert Duvall, Morgan Freeman), desperately trying to keep themselves and others from getting wiped out by a comet.

Some disaster flicks I watch again and again, until I can recite the lines by heart.  It doesn’t hurt if there’s one of my favorite Hollywood hunks in the flick, either.

I’d be a stand-in any day of the week for Linda Hamilton, who…

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Corvette. The very name brings a picture of speed and thrilling chases. Corvette is luxury and comfort. Corvette is a car that means style. The two are not mutually exclusive but they are synonymous.

This type of history and breeding puts this car into a class of their own and that gives them their own museum, the National Corvette Museum located in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Now you might think that this type of museum wouldn’t see much more excitement than a child attempting to get in one of these beauties and covering it with sticky fingerprints. You would be wrong.

Two months ago there was a huge uproar. Like the figurative stock market’s bottom dropping out, the museum’s floor fell out when a sudden sink hole opened up inside the building. This was no little hole, this was a 40 foot drop that swallowed up eight cars. Two were on loan from General Motors.

Reports say no injuries were reported but that would be to people. Injuries to cars went far beyond bumps and scrapes. These cars pitched forward and one by one fell into each other. It was one Hell of a ride.

 

Wacky Weather

 

When the conditions outside change to reflect the deepened drama of movie sets people find themselves in all types of predicaments. Last September the Chicagoland and outer suburbs experienced rain coming at them all the time with intense force. In some areas whole houses almost found themselves under water as perpetual rain turned into a flood.

That rain turned ordinary taboos into comic situations such as one man walking down the street where Rockwell Street, Elston and Wellington Avenues cross finding himself swept into a Chicago sewer. Driving on the Dan Ryan Expressway that Wednesday night might have resembled a Keystone Cops escapade as drivers drove the wrong way to avoid… wait a minute… water! That night ¼ inch hail and 60 mph winds dampened many a Chicagoan’s humor.

Source: Chicago Tribune Thursday, September 19, 2013, Section 1, Page 8

 

 

Going to the mall is about shopping, finding great deals and having an adventure with friends (be they family or friends.) turn the corner and your eyes light up with glee at the sign proclaiming just what you want as 50% off.

This experience was what the shoppers in Huntington New York’s Walt Whitman Mall were expecting. Those people were in for a rude awakening, or should I say sleep? Eternal sleep was the destiny for one person. Another twenty-seven people would recover with the worst hang-over of their lives and they hadn’t even drank an alcoholic beverage.

It was Saturday February 22, 2014 and mall visitors went to the Legal Sea Foods restaurant. In the basement a special was in the making. A water pipe (flue pipe) to the heater broke and carbon monoxide gas built up until it reached the people. It’s toll = 1 dead, 27 injured. End of story. Beware!

Source: Chicago Tribune Monday, February 24, 2014, Section 1, Page 13

 

The Missing Hawaii Clipper

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As our attention is drawn in by the mystery of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 it brings thoughts of another missing plane that still hasn’t been found to this day. On July 28, 1938 the Pan Am Hawaii Clipper, a giant sea plane took off from Guam. Everything went along as usual with its normal island hopping flight.

The Hawaii Clipper took off from Hawaii for Manila. At 12:11 p.m. the captain radioed Manila to say he was about two hours away. He reported smooth sailing and good weather. A minute later Panay Island an island south of Manila radioed back. They were not answered. They radioed again several times but nothing was on the airways but static. There was no one there. The Hawaii Clipper had vanished.

Unlike most planes that have trouble and need assistance in case of a crash, the sense of urgency was not here for this plane. It was a water plane after all and if something happened over water it could simply land and remain afloat thanks to four watertight bulkheads. Because of this, the search team was not sent out right away. Those in charge of sending out help didn’t see the need. These pilots knew the area well and all such planes were equipped for any unforeseeable accident.

Inside, these planes carried rubber inflatable boats, balloons to drop outside that would show her course on the sea and kites to be used for an emergency radio aerial. They wouldn’t be hungry either. Each plane carried a shotgun and fishing tackle along with enough food for fifteen people to last a month.

Perhaps one of the greatest mysteries in history began when the rescue party set out to find this missing plane. It wasn’t what they found that made the news, it was what they didn’t find. There was no plane, debris, oil or any sign there ever was a plane. The Hawaii Clipper and all fifteen of the lives aboard her were gone. They never were found.

The only thing that we do know was that for one reason alone this was not an ordinary flight. Aboard the plane was one Wah Sun Choy, a New Jersey Chinese-born restaurateur. On his person he carried three million US dollars (Over forty-five million today) to be used for the Chinese War Relief Fund. As President of the Committee, Choy was bringing this money, fundraised by American’s, to the Chinese government. Like the plane, this money was never seen again.

One can only hope that the fate of the Hawaii Clipper is not a mirrored reflection of the missing Malaysia Airline. It would be horrifying to think that history could be so cruel as to repeat herself with the lives of 239 people. The mysterious loss of 15 lives should be enough. No matter what, both of these incidents have our full attention.

To see an informative article regarding other planes that have vanished and never been found please visit:

http://m.theepochtimes.com/n3/551448-missing-planes/

To read another article that relates to mine please go to:

http://lostclipper.com/2014/03/14/malaysia-airliner-hijacked/

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