safety

State investigators have cited the Hartford Fire Department for serious violations found during an investigation of a blaze that killed a city firefighter in October. City fire officials said Thursday that the department received citations from the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

Updated at 1:13 a.m. ET

German prosecutors say the co-pilot of the Germanwings plane who crashed the aircraft into the French Alps on March 24 apparently used his tablet computer to search the Internet for ways to commit suicide and for the safety features of cockpit doors. Separately, French prosecutors say the second black box of Flight 4U 9525 has been recovered.

Top executives of Lufthansa and Germanwings airlines visited the site of last week's plane crash that killed 150 people. Speaking with reporters, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr did not respond to questions about the co-pilot's medical history.

Spohr said that while his airline is learning more about the crash, "it will take a long time for all of us to understand" how the tragedy occurred.

From Berlin, Esme Nicholson filed this report for our Newscast desk:

Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot who appears to have deliberately crashed his aircraft into the French Alps last week, had informed Lufthansa in 2009 of a "serious depressive episode," the German airline said in a statement.

Lufthansa says a note about a "previous depressive episode" was found in email Lubitz apparently sent to the Lufthansa flight school when he resumed his training after a months-long interruption.

Updated at 10:05 a.m. ET.

Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot of the Germanwings plane that crashed in the French Alps last week with 150 passengers on board, received treatment for suicidal tendencies for several years before he became a pilot, a German prosecutor says.

Christoph Kumpa, a spokesman for Duesseldorf investigators, says Lubitz "had been in treatment of a psychotherapist because of what is documented as being suicidal at that time."

A car that was intercepted near the security gate of the National Security Agency's headquarters at Fort Meade, Md., was fired upon Monday morning, in a clash that left one of the car's occupants dead.

Authorities tell NPR's Dina Temple-Raston that after two suspects tried to ram a vehicle into the entrance gate, one suspect was shot dead and the other was injured by NSA security guards.

The violence took place in Anne Arundel County, where officials say the investigation is being handled by NSA police. Fort Meade lies between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Md.

YouTube

A woman has died after she was struck by an Amtrak train near the Fairfield station in Connecticut.

Updated at 11:05 a.m. ET

The co-pilot who deliberately downed an airliner over the French Alps this week, killing all 150 aboard, had told a girlfriend sometime last year that he would "do something" that would make people remember his name, a German newspaper reports.

Billy Hathorn / Creative Commons

New London has fired a city employee, suspended two others and otherwise disciplined another two workers after an investigation of alleged safety violations at the city's transfer station. 

While most teenagers recognize that texting while driving is a bad idea, they may be less clear about the risk of other activities – like changing clothes.

Twenty-seven percent of teens say they sometimes change clothes and shoes while driving, a study finds. They also reported that they often change contact lenses, put on makeup and do homework behind the wheel.

A test on an envelope that arrived at the White House Mail Screening Facility on Monday indicates that it contains cyanide, according to the Secret Service. The agency did not announce to whom the letter was addressed. Further tests are being conducted to confirm the results.

Secret Service spokesman Robert Hoback says:

Concerns about possibly incurring brain injuries have prompted Chris Borland to end his NFL career after just one season, during which he emerged as a star on the San Francisco 49ers' vaunted defense. Borland, 24, said, "I just honestly want to do what's best for my health."

Saying that he had consulted with other players, medical experts and his family, Borland stated, "From what I've researched and what I've experienced, I don't think it's worth the risk."

State of Connecticut

The families of nine of the people killed in the Newtown school shooting have filed lawsuits against the estate of the gunman's mother.

Hazel Motes / Creative Commons

State environmental officials are setting out their legislative priorities for 2015, and there's at least one unexpected issue that's being addressed: jet packs.

The legislative proposals are wide-ranging, covering everything from stricter labeling requirements on farm products made in Connecticut to a program requiring that tire companies assume more responsibility for disposing of their products after consumer use.

Then there are water jet packs. "It's basically a James Bond-style jet pack that uses the thrust of a personal watercraft to send the rider 20 or 30 feet in the air," said Rob Klee, head of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Gov. Charlie Baker says metro Boston's aging MBTA subway lines will be operating on an "abbreviated" schedule and not normal workday times. Commuter trains will attempt to maintain a weekday schedule, but delays are likely.

U.S. Senator Describes Train Wreckage

Feb 7, 2015

Two U.S. Senators and two congressional representatives Friday saw the wreckage and toured the crash site of Tuesday’s fiery Metro-North crash in Westchester County that left six people dead. 

The officials, including U.S. Senator from Connecticut Richard Blumenthal, spoke after viewing the charred train in a warehouse and then touring the crash site in Valhalla.

“Look inside the car and you can see those third rails like daggers going into the heart of that chamber.”

Alberto Cairo / ProPublica

Imagine walking into your young child's classroom and seeing him on the floor, his hands behind his back, as if he was being arrested. This is what happened to Lisbeth Ehrlich in Darien. 

"It's profoundly disturbing,” Ehrlich said. “It is surreal; it's something you cannot believe you're seeing."

In Ehrlich's case, she said it was done because her son "didn't want to sit through circle time." A new report from the Office of the Child Advocate shows that cases like Ehrlich's are not unusual, and that some kids have been restrained or secluded for minor behavior problems such as throwing puzzle pieces on the floor or swinging a coat around.

The State Department of Education released data last year showing that the number of restraints and seclusions increased by over 2,000 incidents compared to the year before.

Paul Goyette / Creative Commons

There were 124 child fatalities in Connecticut between 2005 and 2014.  The state Department of Children and Families studied the cases and is now implementing a new strategy to identify and support at-risk families. 

DCF's study found that the most common cause of death was from Sudden Infant Death syndrome, or SIDS.

Susan Smith, DCF's Chief of Quality and Planning, said 34 percent of the child fatalities were attributed to SIDS when combined with unsafe sleep.

NTSB

Federal investigators visited a Metro-North train crash site Wednesday where six people were killed and 15 were injured.

A train on the Harlem Line crashed into an SUV Tuesday evening in the Westchester County town of Valhalla, New York. It's considered the worst accident in the history of the rail line.

New York Senator Charles Schumer told reporters Wednesday that the train was traveling at about 58 mph, within the speed limit for the area, which ranges between 60 and 70 mph. Federal investigators gathered other information about whether the train's brakes were applied, and whether its horn sounded as it approached a crossing.

Oregon DOT / Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy's Office of Policy and Management has released new crime statistics for Connecticut, and the news is good, especially for Connecticut's urban areas.

According to the report, the index crime rate in Connecticut hasn't been this low since the 1960s.

Index crimes dropped by 18.2 percent from 2008 to 2013 -- listed by the FBI as willful homicide, forcible rape, robbery, burglary, aggravated assault, larceny over $50, motor vehicle theft, and arson. 

NTSB

A federal report stemming from the investigation into the May 2013 derailment of a Metro-North Railroad train that injured scores of passengers in Bridgeport said that bolts on brand-new M-8 cars are too weak.

The National Transportation Safety Board recommends that Metro-North replace thousands of bolts on the fleet of more than 400 new Kawasaki rail cars on the New Haven line and New Canaan branch.

The NTSB said the bolts were not to blame for the derailment, but that their failure made the two-train collision worse, because a piece of one car sliced into the passenger compartment of another.

CT-N

Governor Dannel Malloy's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission met on Friday. The panel is getting closer to finishing a final report, but more details remain.

Much of the meeting turned into a debate on whether the report should be dedicated solely to the 26 victims at Sandy Hook elementary, or whether it should also include shooter Adam Lanza and his mother Nancy.

Panel member Dr. Harold Schwartz suggested adding Nancy Lanza as an asterisk to the 26. "Why would we not consider Nancy Lanza to have been a victim?" he asked.

Update, 12:27 a.m.

The death toll is now at 3 with the death of a second infant in the hours following the blast, according to The Associated Press, and eight children and seven adults remain in critical condition.

"The blast occurred at 7:05 a.m. when the truck was making a routine delivery of gas to the hospital kitchen and gas started to leak. Witnesses said the tanker workers struggled for 15 or 20 minutes to repair the leak while a large cloud of gas formed.

Residents across the state are digging out of the blizzard that dumped more than two feet on parts of the state. Gov. Gina Raimondo lifted the state’s travel ban last night. She thanked Rhode Islanders for staying off the roads. There was a fire in Providence and a handful of accidents, but no major injuries from the storm.

Tucker Ives / WNPR

Blizzard warnings eased early Tuesday for parts of Connecticut, but central and eastern parts of the state saw continuing snowfall and strong winds through midday. By noon, most counties were downgraded to a winter storm warning as a powerful nor'easter made its way across the state.

A statewide travel ban lifted in Connecticut at 2:00 pm. Local roads were opened in Litchfield and Fairfield Counties early Tuesday morning, but Governor Dannel Malloy asked residents to wait before getting on the roads if possible. State bus service will resume Wednesday, and state employees return to work in the morning.

Sharon Mollerus / Creative Commons

If you’ve been watching the news the last few days, you’d know our region was bracing for what could be an “historic” storm. But can anything really be historic when we’ve seen so many similar events over the past few years?

Office of Dannel Malloy

Governor Dannel Malloy is asking residents to prepare for a significant snowstorm impacting Connecticut Monday evening through Tuesday. He declared a state of emergency, opened the Emergency Operations Center, and issued a travel ban on state highways as of 9:00 pm Monday.

Malloy said Bradley International Airport is closing to passengers at 7:00 pm Monday night. He said the last Metro-North train would leave Grand Central Station in New York City at 9:00 pm.

"Although storms can be unpredictable, this storm has the potential to have a significant impact on the state and we need to be prepared," Malloy said. "Just as the state is monitoring and preparing, the public should do the same."

In a response to recent incidents in which large commercial airliners have vanished into oceans, the National Transportation Safety Board is calling for new regulations requiring all passenger planes that fly over large bodies of water to be equipped with more sophisticated flight tracking technologies.

Northeast Utilities

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has notified the Millstone Power Station of possible enforcement action following a November 24 inspection that found problems related to unspecified safety issues. 

Starting today, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children will begin sending out Amber Alerts on Facebook's news feed. The alerts will include a photograph of the missing child and the location where the possible abduction took place.

Facebook has 185 million users in the U.S., and the notices will be tailored to location — so users will receive alerts about missing children in their area.

Pages