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North Little Rock Fire Department to test fire hydrants in October

Because the inspections involve the increased flow of water from fire hydrants, some customers may notice discolored water at the tap during the process.

The flow-and-drain inspections will begin Friday, October 1, and continue each week through Monday, October 25. Each week, Fire Department crews will conduct tests during daylight hours in a different geographical quadrant of the City. The testing is part of routine annual maintenance. CAW customers received advance notification of the testing with an informational pamphlet that accompanied their September 2010 billing statements.

The purpose of the inspections is two-fold: To check fire hydrants for proper operation, leaks, and other possible maintenance concerns and to comply with the requirements of the City's Class 2 fire insurance rating. The flow-and-drain tests also help to enhance water quality by turning over water in low-usage water mains.

Update: Crews battle wildfire on Camp Robinson Base


The best defense against the fire has been air tankers, but for safety reasons they were called off at dusk. The fire is so wide spread that it's not only difficult to control, but dangerous for crews on the ground. Neighborhoods are on standby to be evacuated.

The heavy smoke permeates the air in North Little Rock, making it difficult to breath and hard for the emergency crews working to put the wildfire out.

Families in nearby neighborhoods watched as the fire grew closer. Serenity Tucker holds her two-year-old and says, "What could happen? There were a lot of vehicles and a lot of sirens and a lot of smoke so it was pretty nerve racking for me. I wasn't sure what to do next."

Black hawk helicopters worked from above dropping water on the flames, while bulldozers dug lines to contain the fire.

RAW VIDEO: Train derailment in Maumelle area not cleared

Lt. Carl Minden with the Pulaski County Sheriff's Department says the Crystal Hill, Kelly and Marche crossings are all damaged or blocked intermittently as they clear them. So it will be hit or miss if the crossings will be blocked.

Union Pacific expects to have everything cleared within 48 hours. Minden suggests you stay on I-40 or 365 and avoid that area altogether.

Crews hauled in heavy equipment from out of town to clean up the mess and have been working around the clock.

No word on what caused the train to jump the tracks but no one was injured and it was not hauling any hazardous materials.

Updated: Weather affects smoke plumes in NLR

The fire is contained but is still smoldering and has burned hundreds of acres.

See the related links to the right for previous stories.

As smoke filled the air Thursday, forecasters at The National Weather Service watched as satellite images revealed plumes of smoke coming from Camp Robinson.  Forecaster Emilie Nipper says they monitor satellite images throughout the day.

"Off of satellite we can see smoke plumes.  We can see the difference and change in temperatures based on the fire, so we can monitor it from here."

Thursday, the initial blaze at Camp Robinson reignited and residents near the blaze say they are feeling the burn.
"Smells like your next door neighbor is burning leaves. Some people are getting a cough out of it. It's been kind of miserable; had to turn my air conditioner back on," says resident Wayne Garland.

Update: NLRPD Officer involved shooting, suspect dead


The home owner says the situation was a complete misunderstanding and he wishes things ended much different. Forty-four-year old Marcus Heard's wife was on her way home when she was told he was pronounced dead at the scene. But police say, they responded to a 9-1-1 call and they were met by the armed suspect shooting at them.

Ray Taylor says, "It's a good neighborhood, real good neighborhood."

It is a weekly routine for Ray Taylor to hang out at his brother's house with friends on Friday's. But this time Taylor says Marcus Heard walked into the house unannounced and fired his gun, then continued to fire it outside in the air.

Taylor clarifies, "He didn't come here to rob us or hurt us. He came here because he had too much to drink."

Update: Parents invited to sobriety checkpoint


There is no tolerance for distractive or impaired driving. The checkpoint is not just to catch drunk drivers, but to let folks know there is no lenience for breaking laws. It's everything from seatbelts, breaking curfew, texting to too many people in the car.

Pulaski County Sheriff's deputies will be out until Saturday morning at an undisclosed location. Their focus is drugs, alcohol impaired drivers and teens not abiding by the law. This checkpoint is a bit different because parents are involved.

Holly Jones is the Parent Education Coordinator for Teen Driving Safety at Arkansas Children's Hospital. She says, "We're trying to bring the two together. So that while the parents are enforcing the laws and the rules within the home. Law enforcement are doing it on the street, that both are a team and are working together to keep teenagers safe."

Memorial for soldier killed in Somalia set


Family and friends will join members of the public on Friday at 1 p.m. in honoring Chief Warrant Officer 3 Donovan L. "Bull" Briley.

Briley was honored with a stretch of sidewalk on Military Road, but the road had to be moved during a security upgrade to the entrance to Camp Joseph T. Robinson. The memorial was originally dedicated in 1994. Friday's ceremony will be at the camp entrance near the visitor center.

Briley was honored with the Distinguished Flying Cross for his action in Somalia. His Super 61 helicopter was downed by enemy fire, but Briley maneuvered it to the ground so that his passengers survived.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)