Operation “Render Safe” NR11482jr

October 15, 2011

Los Angeles: Residents living near the area of Arroyo Street and Gladstone Avenue in Sylmar are being advised of a joint operation to render safe a potentially hazardous situation.  Freeway and road closures will cause delays to the motoring public.

On Sunday morning, October 16, 2011, at about 6:30 a.m., the Los Angeles Police Department, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the California Highway Patrol, and the Los Angeles City Fire Department, acting in a Unified Command, will be conducting a “render safe” operation in the area of Arroyo Street and Gladstone Avenue in Sylmar.   Other agencies including Cal-Trans, LA-DOT, and DWP will be assisting.

On August 9, 2011, an industrial explosion involving compressed hydrogen occurred in the 12300 block of Gladstone Avenue in Sylmar.  The incident is still under investigation.  Numerous other cylindrical containers have been discovered at the extensively damaged facility.  Since the exact cause of the explosion is not fully understood, the Unified Command has decided that the safest course of action is to evacuate the area and intentionally rupture those cylinders which present a hazard.  While there are no residential structures in the immediate vicinity, the nearest communities might notice the police activity in the area and hear the explosion.  The business operators in the impacted area have been kept informed and will be temporarily closed.

Beginning at about 6:00 am on Sunday morning, the 210 Foothill Freeway will be closed between Maclay Avenue and the 118 Ronald Reagan Freeway for up to several hours.  The parallel segment of Foothill Boulevard will also be closed.  With a little trip planning it is possible to navigate around the closure using the freeway system.  Those who are required to exit the 210 Freeway will be directed by signs and officers along a detour route back to the freeway system.

Community members can text “Mission” to 888777 with any text-capable cell phone and receive updates directly from the Unified Command.  Messages will include alternate routes, status updates, and finally a notification that the operation is complete.

At 6:00 am the area within the perimeter will be designated an “operational area” for the safety of the involved officers.  Members of the media arriving after 6:00 am will be required to park legally outside of the perimeter boundaries, leaving access for emergency vehicles.  Those desiring to be at the media staging area should respond to Arroyo Street south of Foothill Boulevard by 6:00 am.  Officers will provide additional directions to the media from that location.

Media Inquiries should be directed to Nahal Mogharabi, Press Officer, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, at 415-760-5420 or by email at mogharabi.nahal@epa.gov.