Friday, June 13, 2014



Note: Interesting. True? False? Device "activated"? Word games?
NPD debunks reports of 'explosion' at plant
Jonathan Clark

An FBI bomb technician enters the lot at the UniSource Energy Services Valencia Plant on Wednesday afternoon.

Posted: Thursday, June 12, 2014 1:36 pm | Updated: 4:45 pm, Fri Jun 13, 2014.
By Manuel C. Coppola
Nogales International

Contrary to some non-local media reports, there was no explosion at the UniSource Energy Services Valencia Plant in Nogales on Wednesday.

An "incendiary-type device" was found next to a large-capacity diesel fuel tank at the plant in on Wednesday morning, prompting an evacuation of a nearby auto dealership and an investigation by federal officials.

"Preliminary investigation determined that the device failed to compromise the tank and UniSource personnel advised that the plant is functional and no services were affected," Nogales Police Lt. Carlos Jimenez said in a news release issued shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday. There were no injuries from the incident and there are currently no suspects.

The initial 911 call from UniSource came in at approximately 9:30 a.m. and reported a "suspicious item" at the plant at 1741 N. Grand Ave. NPD officers and Nogales Fire Department personnel responded.
"Upon arrival it was determined that for precautionary reasons that the plant and an adjacent business be evacuated," Jimenez said. "The plant was secured until additional resources arrived."

Those resources included personnel from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, bomb technicians from the FBI, and investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Federal agents were called in because the plant, which serves about 8,000 customers, is considered "critical infrastructure" that, if damaged, could have far-reaching repercussions.
The investigation is ongoing. "Further information will be available at a later time," Jimenez said.

No tragic results
The Horne Ford dealership, just north of the plant, was evacuated. "Naturally, they were not happy about it, but (principal partner Tony) Griffin was very cooperative and understanding. He recognized that it was in his employees' and customers' best interest," Jimenez said.

Attempts to reach Griffin for comment before press time were unsuccessful.
Media reports surfaced late Wednesday that there had been an actual explosion.

But Jimenez emphasized that, "the device activated, but all it did was leave char marks around the area.

The tank was not ruptured or compromised in any way."

He described the device only as "crude in nature. It could be made with common household items and held in one hand."
Whoever planted it, "had some working knowledge, but obviously did not get the response that was sought," Jimenez said. "Had it been gasoline, it might be a different story. Diesel has a much higher flash point than gasoline. We are all fortunate that there were no tragic results from this."

Ray Sayre, director of Santa Cruz County Emergency Management, said he was notified about 20 minutes into the episode and said: "I am tempted to write a letter to Chief (Derek) Arnson about how well the incident was managed."
Sayre was in Phoenix, but said he got constant updates, which in turn he used to keep state emergency management personnel advised as well.
"When I got on scene that afternoon, I saw everyone was in vest with functional group assignments," he said. "I like that. I like, too, that I was met by the liaison officer who knows me, but asked for identification anyway. He directed me where to park and escorted me. Now that was a well-managed incident."

Sayre chided some media outlets for falsely reporting an explosion, and lauded Jimenez for how he managed the information released to the media. "I read (the NI) story online and it was spot on," he said.


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