INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Emergency responders found “ground zero” of the Richmond Hill explosion within four minutes after receiving hundreds of calls, officials said on Wednesday.
Public safety officials offered a public analysis of the response to the explosion, which killed two people and destroyed dozens of homes.
Some of the things officials said they did well included off-duty public safety people responding to the scene on their own. They also highlighted use of social media by residents to spread information and the establishing of a mobile command center to organize responders.
The Director of the Department of Public Safety was pleased with the overall response.
"This is the first time I really saw public safety early and often saying, ‘We need to help people rebuild their lives.’ It's an important component that has been missing in the past," said Director Troy Riggs
The in-depth after action review identified areas of improvement for site control, operations and communications.
Suggestions included doing a better job:
- Marking and identifying searched homes
- Bringing in and organizing mental health counselors for victims
- Ensuring information released to the media is accurate
Riggs says he will require his department heads to incorporate the suggested improvements into their business and training plans.
"I say if you can make sure this occur, if you can achieve these goals, great ...
Otherwise, we will find someone who can get the job done," said Riggs.
Riggs gives Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard credit for much of the success of the emergency response to the blast. He says Ballard made the decision to place one person in charge of the response and recovery efforts. Riggs says that is the blue print for the future.
"We put span of control in the hands of one individual and have leadership so there is no confusion in our operations," said Riggs.
The total cost of the emergency response and recovery was around $350,000. Director Riggs says the personnel overtime was managed but adds the department can do a better job of that in the future.
The Indiana State AFL-CIO has elected a new president, replacing the labor union's leader who directed its unsuccessful campaign to block passage of the state's right-to-work law.
A Ford Explorer crashed into a construction business Wednesday morning at 22nd and Pennsylvania streets in Indianapolis.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has requested help for Howard County areas affected by tornadoes that hit the state on Nov. 17.