Nation briefs 3/22/05

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Study: Rural areas not ready for terror attacks

WASHINGTON -- Rural health officials believe they are woefully unprepared to respond to a possible terror attack on food supplies, nuclear power facilities or other targets. A survey of health officials in 26 states also found that most rural areas would not be prepared for a bioterror attack or have the resources to handle a surge of people fleeing urban areas under assault. The study, sponsored in part by the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Pittsburgh, comes as the Homeland Security Department is proposing awarding federal aid to states and localities based on the level of threats they face.

Fire, explosion injure 12 at Mich. steel plant

DEARBORN, Mich. -- Spilled molten steel caused a fire and explosion Monday at a Michigan steel plant, injuring 12 people, officials said. A transport vehicle carrying molten steel was backing into a building at the industrial complex when some of its high-temperature cargo sloshed out, said William Hornberger, a spokesman for Severstal, the Russian company that owns the plant. The molten steel hit two of the vehicle's 8-foot tires, setting them afire and causing them to explode minutes later. The explosion blew out part of the building's steel sheet siding and caused electrical damage, he said.

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