Friday, March 13, 2009

Local blog with information we might not get from newspaper reports: UA hired contractor to remove UA silt from duck pond

This item on a local blog this week is especially interesting because it includes real news written from the viewpoint of someone who was there throughout the event, not just one of us reporter-types who shows up and asks questions of public officials and occasionally of witness. Jennie answered questions that we didn't think to ask:

Beverly Manor apartment fire from a resident's Web log
There are two buildings in my complex. I'm on my porch, so my building was fine--but the other building lost several apartments on the end, and everyone in that building had to be evacuated. They cannot return to their homes until tomorrow, and who knows when their power and gas will be turned on, or if they'll even be able to live there.

Jenn posted this on her blog after midnight Wednesday (12:34 a.m. Thursday):
What caused this splendid display of pyrotechnics?

Well, the UNIVERSITY hired a contractor to dig out the pond in front of the apartment building because their (UA's) recent CONSTRUCTION had CAUSED a great deal of sediment to be dumped into our pond.
Through a series of mishaps, the big backhoe (actually a trackdigger according to contractors) ended up in the drained pond, sunk into the loose mud and sediment. Then they broke the gas line. The gas company came out and was presumably taking care of the situation.

Lance and I were sitting in my apartment when an explosion rattled our windows. "That's a gas line blowing," said Lance. We dashed out the door--to see what was going on, to rescue our friends in the building, something--and we saw smoke. Then little flames. Then MASSIVE FLAMES. The people in the two apartments that were on fire got out (including our landlord's mother), so no one was hurt, and all the residents and area citizens watched as the firetrucks came screaming from down the road (the advantages of living downtown, two blocks from a fire station).

Jenn posted this at 2:48 p.m. Friday:
It's funny to realize how much the media has gotten wrong about our fire on Wednesday. It's really small stuff, but it's still amusing. And it really makes me wonder how much else they get wrong with other stories.

I'm not going to link to any stories in particular (though this one is probably the most accurate), but the general errors include the timeline of events, how much was damaged, who was affected, and what happened. They all claim that swift action on the part of the police department was responsible for getting everyone out safely, when really it was the swift action on the part of residents that got everyone out. And the fact that when you hear a giant explosion and see flames, you're likely to leave the building that's on fire as quickly as possible. Also, a few UA staff members were affected but no faculty. Details, people, details.


Anonymous said...

If the university hired the contractor, the owner of the property probably had to threaten a lawsuit. They never admit guilt in anything and never comply with normal rules, claiming immunity from city, county regulations (and all environmental laws) because they are a state agency.

Anonymous said...

The university built that project at the intersection of Center and Duncan and it violated all the stormwater rules.
It makes sense that the new sustainability department would be trying to do the right thing. It just didn't turn out right this time.
Let's don't discourage them from trying!

Anonymous said...

The university also built that parking lot and many other buildings over the years with no concern for what happened downstream.
I suppose that you are right in saying that the new sustainability department must have had something to do with the idea of getting the pond dredged.
But I would like to find the former president, Aub call's him Brother John for some reason, and get him to confess to his sins.