LPG tankers? Well, blow me down!

EDITOR: How many warnings do we need before we get rid of the hundred or more LPG tanker cars that sit parked only a few hundred yards from the pallet factory on Highway 121 that burned again this week after two similar fires in 2007 and 2013?

The tanker yard escaped in the October fires, and again now when the wind was from the south and the sparks didn’t cross the highway to where the tanker cars still wait. But next time we could have a very different outcome. Just a single ember carried by the wrong wind, and the explosion there would make that exploding propane tank projectile we saw on TV this time look small.

Tanker accidents elsewhere in the United States reported balls of flame from a single tanker explosion that traveled 5 feet above the ground and took out the local first-responder fire station while consuming everything within a mile in a matter of seconds, setting fires all along the way. And here we have nearly a hundred tanker cars parked end-to-end in dry grasslands with no protection or blast walls – nothing!

Shame on the out-of-town Board members of SMART who needlessly put us at risk by allowing the Northwestern Pacific Railroad to put its storage yard there. Shame on the railway officials who put their profit before the safety of the people and businesses of the south Sonoma Valley who they are placing in peril.

And shame on us if we ignore this latest warning and don’t speak out. It’s time to get rid of the tanker yard before the season of fully-loaded, highly-explosive, LPG tankers is upon us again at the end of another dry year in the Sonoma Valley.

Norman Gilroy


Kilgore verdict ‘brought great satisfaction’

EDITOR: The Paul Dwayne Kilgore guilty verdicts and sentencing (“Former Boys and Girls Club Athletic Director Sentenced to 150 Years to Life,” May 2) brought great satisfaction not just to me, but to others at the Healdsburg Police Department who worked on the case, as well as to the folks at the Redwood Children’s Center who assisted our investigation.

After our press release following his arrest in September 2016, there was a proliferation of calls from people who suspected him, or victims wishing to come forward from even decades ago. The proliferation required the aid of investigators from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office and from San Bruno Police Department, who took on the calls from people in their respective jurisdictions.

I think what was ultimately so satisfying about the case’s outcome was that it depended not just on the cooperation of various law enforcement agencies, but also the courage of past and recent victims, all of whom stepped up to eradicate a scourge who had spent decades preying on youths and their families. Your journalistic efforts were a large part of getting the story out.

Craig Smith

Healdsburg Police Department