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Archive for the ‘accidents and incidents’ Category

by Michael Kline, the Community’s representative to the Esalen Board of Trustees

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Dear Esalen Community,

I am grateful that no one was physically hurt in the fire at South Coast last night. However, almost twenty people lost their homes and possessions, and we had to find beds on campus for 48 people last night. Most of the top level of South Coast was destroyed but the fire did not reach the lower level. We do not know when the lower level will be habitable at this time. Right now, we have beds for everyone, and we are assessing the situation and planning for longer term housing needs. There is no further danger of fire in the lower level but South Coast will not be habitable tonight. Starting at 11 am today the HR team is available to meet individually with staff who were affected. This meeting is required for those people who lost their possessions. Please go to the HR Office and you will find a sign up sheet for people to meet one-on-one with Scott, Jerry, or Michelle, who will assist in meeting anyone’s needs. The fire department is still on scene and is cleaning up. Maintenance is waiting for clearance to get utilities running. We hope to have information later today for people who want to recover their belongings. This will be an organized effort. Please do not go to South Coast until you receive further instructions. I deeply appreciate the fact that our community pulls together to care for one another in crisis situations. All of our dedicated staff reported to work this morning. At this point we do not anticipate any impact on the seminarians and leaders involved in our workshops. There is a Managers meeting at 4 pm today in Maslow. At 5 pm there will be a Community Gathering on the Oval in front of the Lodge for more information. For future information updates check the web-site or the bulletin board in front of the office. Blessings, Tricia

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Man dies in undetected Big Sur house fire

By CHRIS COUNTS

PALO COLORADO resident Robert Coakley, a 1982 graduate
of Carmel High School, died Sept. 15 after the mobile home he was
living in caught fire, according to the Monterey County Sheriff ’s
Office.

Coakley, who grew up in Carmel Valley and was the son of
Carmel Valley Lodge owner Peter Coakley, was 47.
“He was great guy,” recalled fellow CHS graduate John Franklin,
who had known Coakley since they attended middle school together.
“He has happy-go-lucky, and he always seemed to be having fun.
He was a very gentle person. Everybody seemed to enjoy his company.”
Coakley lived atop Green Ridge, a neighborhood located about
three miles east of Highway 1.

According to several of Coakley’s neighbors, nobody was aware
— at least at first — that his home was on fire, due to a thickfog that blanketed the ridge. According to detective Diana
Schumacher of the MCSO, the fire likely started sometime
after midnight. She said her agency received a call regarding
the fire at about 6 a.m. It is not clear how the call was made
since phone service was out in the Palo Colorado area
because a large eucalyptus tree crashed down on Highway 1
the day before and took out a power pole.

Later the same day, Schumacher surveyed what remained
of the dwelling. “It looked like a plane that had crashed,” she
said. “It was obliterated. The fire burned very, very hot.”
While Schumacher said the origin of the fire is under
investigation, she dispelled rumors that it was caused by an
exploding propane tank or a drug lab. She said two propane
tanks located nearby did show cracks from the blaze.
Remarkably — and likely due to the fog — the fire didn’t
spread far beyond Coakley’s residence, despite the fact that
Green Ridge is covered with dense, fire-prone vegetation.

Mid-Coast Volunteer Fire Brigade Chief Cheryl Goetz
reported that the blaze scorched just less than an acre.
“Everybody in this community was very lucky,” Goetz
observed.

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The public may view traffic conditions on the state highway system by viewing the Caltrans network of roadside traffic cameras can be viewed at: http://video.dot.ca.gov/

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In addition, motorists may call the automated California Highway Information Network (CHIN) @ 800-GAS-ROAD to get current conditions for any highway in the state.

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A few confusing posts on the CHP site but I think we’ve got it figured out. There will be a “Soft Closure between Mile Marker 11 (Gorda/Willow Creek area) and MM42 (Fullers) until morning. There are a quite a few rock slides along the highway. Proceed with extreme caution.

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CHP is reporting a rock, tree and debris slide between Fernwood and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park with two vehicles stuck in the debris flow.
To follow this go to:
http://cad.chp.ca.gov/

11:49PM PER VERN SWEENEY Caltrans VIA L/L ETA TO OPEN 2 HOURS

1:06AM PER 74G VIA MDC MESSG : HEAVY EQUP 97 / CALTRANS ADV 1 HR ETA / MUD KEEPS SLIDING DOWN AS IT IS CLEARED

1:02AM APPROX 20 MINS TO OPEN RDWY – PER 62G

2:34AM **LINE 52 RDWY OPEN

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The CHP website is reporting wires down and on fire in the southbound lane near the River Inn.  Both lanes are closed.

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