From AP REPORTS
Truck collision closes southbound 35W in Fort Worth
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – Southbound lanes of Interstate 35W reopened nearly 12 hours after a man was killed in a fiery wreck involving a tractor-trailer.
Fort Worth Police say one person was killed in the accident late Friday night when a tractor-trailer struck a concrete barrier and caught fire at 35W and Sycamore School Road. It's unclear if the person was a passenger in the tractor-trailer.
The driver of the truck sustained burns and was taken to a Dallas Hospital. A condition was unavailable Saturday morning.
The truck was carrying a road grader, which ended up on the roadway. Fuel also spilled on the roadway.
Crews are trying to clean up the debris while police were detouring traffic to the access road early Saturday.
OSHA issues fine to Dallas company after spectacular blast
DALLAS (AP) – Federal regulators fined a Dallas company $6,300 in connection with a spectacular acetylene gas explosion last summer that sent metal canisters flying into the air.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration assessed the fine to Southwest Industrial Gases, a welding gas distribution facility.
But the government citations don't conclude that the violations caused the blast.
Citations issued Thursday and released Friday say the company exposed workers to serious hazards that were likely to cause death or serious physical harm, The Dallas Morning News reported in Saturday editions.
Bellville-based Western International Gas & Cylinders was delivering acetylene, a gas used in welding, on July 25 when its tractor-trailer exploded, severely burning two workers, causing more than $2.3 million in damage and sending plumes of smoke higher than some skyscrapers.
OSHA said the Southwest Industrial Gases plant could have reduced the fire risk by putting in a sprinkler system in the loading dock. The plant wasn't required to have fire sprinklers because it was built before new fire codes took effect.
Southwest Industrial has said that a delivery company driver hooked up the supply system wrong and then ran from a hissing gas leak.
The agency cited the company for two other violations: failing to properly mark trucks that carried pallets of acetylene cylinders and having a hazard analysis that was conducted only by the general manager, instead of by a team of employees.
"None of those violations led to the accident," said Melvin Ruyle, the company's former president, told the newspaper. "We had over 30 years of successfully running the plant with no problems."
Ruyle said he stepped down last week, putting another official, Waco Mayor Virginia DuPuy, in charge.
Two workers at the Dallas explosion received second- and third-degree burns. One of the injured workers told investigators he thought the explosion started with a crack in a tank connection.
Dallas Fire-Rescue has said that either mechanical failure or human error caused the break in a cylinder and hookup connection that allowed the acetylene to "self-ignite."
Less than three weeks later, a Western International trailer full of canisters burst into flames during a delivery in The Woodlands near Houston.
Immigration agents to work out of Travis County jail
AUSTIN (AP) – Immigration agents will set up an office at the Travis County Jail to monitor the status of people booked into the facility.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents will likely be stationed in the jail 24 hours a day, seven days a week in coming months, said Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton.
Until recently, federal immigration agents visited the jail occasionally to check the immigration status of inmates. They began increasing their presence in the facility late last year, leading to more immigration holds being placed on Travis County inmates for possible deportation, said Adrian Ramirez, assistant director for ICE's San Antonio office.
An immigration hold is a legal order that says a jailed person should be released into ICE custody for possible deportation after completing the sentence.
In some places, including the Dallas County Jail, ICE has officers stationed at detention facilities to handle the process of determining deportability. At the Irving jail and others, jailers can call a 24-hour number and have ICE personnel check databases or speak with detainees to determine if they are legally in the country, said Nuria Prendes, director of detention and removal operations at ICE's Dallas field office.
Austin police have had a yearslong practice of not asking suspects or victims about their immigration status.
Attorney David Peek wrote the sheriff to say he is worried about the new plan because members of the city's immigrant community will think interacting with local law enforcement officers could lead to deportation and become afraid.
Hamilton met with concerned community groups this week and said he decided to allow ICE agents to work out of the jail to improve joint efforts between local and federal law enforcement agencies to increase public safety.
"My contention is that the best way for (undocumented immigrants) to not come under scrutiny is to not commit crimes," he said.
ICE officials decided in October to focus on jails in Travis and Bexar counties. Ramirez said agents also plan to more frequently visit jails throughout his office's 20-county region.
Information from: Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com
SPCA says pink toe tarantula, hissing roaches among 200 animals rescued from Texas home
MARSHALL, Texas (AP) – An animal protection group on Friday rescued more than 200 animals, including 26 hissing cockroaches and two bearded dragons, from an eastern Texas home.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said the animals were still being counted Friday night.
The group was acting under the authority of the Harrison County Sheriff's Department and had gone to the property on a warrant regarding medical neglect.
Besides the cockroaches and bearded dragons, the animals included 68 dogs, 16 rabbits, 15 guinea pigs, 13 gerbils, seven doves, two dwarf hamsters, two hedgehogs, an opossum and a pink toe tarantula.
The SPCA said some animals were found in outdoor pens while others were in sheds scattered around the property. Others were in a doublewide trailer living in filth.
The SPCA said many of the dogs were very thin and appeared to be suffering from eye and ear infections. One dead frog and a dead guinea pig were found. The saved animals were to be taken to an animal care center.
A sheriff's department spokesman said he had no information on the raid and didn't know if any arrests were made.
Bus driver dies behind wheel while transporting kids to school
CHANNELVIEW, Texas (AP) – A bus driver who lost consciousness while transporting students to school and later died is being fondly remembered while a 12-year-old girl who was her passenger is being recognized for her quick thinking.
Linda Kaminski was driving 14 students Thursday morning when she slumped over the steering wheel while stopped at an intersection.
"But when she passed out, her foot came off the pedal and the bus began to roll," said Lt. Dennis Whitted of the Precinct 3 Constable's Office.
The bus then jumped a curb and bumped a construction sign before coming to a halt, authorities said.
After the bus stopped, a seventh-grade girl, whom school officials have not identified, pushed a button for the emergency brake. She then took Kaminski's cell phone and dialed 911, Whitted said.
The 12-year-old girl then moved the other students to the back of the bus where they yelled at passing motorists for help.
Channelview school officials praised the 12-year-old girl's bravery.
An unidentified woman stopped and helped students off the bus and onto the sidewalk to wait for emergency workers. The students huddled together in the cold until another bus arrived to take them on to class, Whitted said.
No students were hurt after Kaminski passed out and only a side mirror on the bus was damaged.
Kaminski, 52, who had a history of heart trouble, was rushed by ambulance to East Houston Medical Center where she was later pronounced dead.
She drove for the school district in Channelview, a Houston suburb.
"Linda was a dedicated bus driver who loved children," said Channelview school district spokeswoman Stephanie Schraeder.
Kaminski's oldest child, Amanda, 23, who also drives a Channelview bus, said her mother "loved her job."
"We think she probably had a massive heart attack. She had had one once before," she said.
School district transportation workers plan to take Kaminski's No. 71 school bus, which she drove for eight years, to her funeral on Monday.