Sunday, October 01, 2000

'Terrorists' to attack in drill

Disaster agencies prepare for worst at power plant

By Tom O'Neill
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        PIERCE TOWNSHIP — Terrorists will invade Monday. Smoke and flames will rise high above the riverbank in southern Clermont County, and emergency workers will rush to Cinergy's Walter Beckjord power plant, where schoolchildren and Cinergy workers will be held hostage.

        Sirens will blare. Response coordinators will bark orders amid the chaos of explosions and shattered glass.

        The exercise is just a drill, which will run from 2 to 5:30 p.m.

        But local emergency agencies think the mock disaster will better prepare them in the event of an actual attack at the Pierce Township power plant along the Ohio River.

        “This exercise will allow us to assess our manpower, resources and the flow of information, should a tragedy of this magnitude ever impact our area,” said Beth Nevel, Clermont County's director of public safety serv ices.

        Cinergy spokesman Dave Woodburn said that the drill would not require any shutdown of operations, and that if there is rain on Monday, the drill will be rescheduled for Tuesday.

        In the drill, terrorists commandeer a school bus full of children and drive it to the coal-fired power plant on U.S. 52 near New Richmond, where they take employees hostage. When a media helicopter arrives and hovers over the plant, terrorists shoot it down.

        The helicopter's rotor is splintered and pierces the side of a chlorine tank, causing a series of explosions.

        Participating agencies include the Clermont County communications center, the FBI, American Red Cross, University Hospital AirCare, Greater Cincinnati Hazmat Unit, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Anderson Mercy Hospital, Cinergy and numerous fire and rescue units from surrounding communities.


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