Rumor Mill News

Tuesday, 9 March 2004

A disaster drill is now scheduled for Yellowstone County. It is scheduled to occur in two weeks, on Sunday March 21st. Folks, I have to tell you, I am getting very concerned of what I am witnessing in “real time”. I am a bit frightened that this is “not a drill”. I am beginning to believe something got away from some secret underground testing, and they can’t put the genie back in the bottle. What I am about to write is not conjecture or the screen play for the next Stephen King movie. No, this is real and it is now.

Here it comes, having been personally confirmed by sources as facts. Hundreds of emergency responders, law enforcement officers and medical workers will take part this month in what is likely to be the largest disaster drill ever staged in Yellowstone County. The drill will start on Sunday, March 21, when there will be a simulated gas release at Rimrock Mall. The next day, there will be simulated incidents at three different sites, including a truck-bomb explosion at the Conoco Refinery.

Under the disaster scenario, two other "terrorists" will be driving truck bombs with plans to attack the two other refineries in the valley. Instead, they will panic and drive to high schools - West High and Laurel High - park outside and enter the schools.

Jim Kraft, director of emergency and general services for Yellowstone County, said there will be a simulated evacuation at the refinery, and many "injured" workers will be taken to the two city hospitals. At the high schools, officials will have to deal with the truck bombs in the parking lots while sending SWAT teams into the schools to apprehend the terrorists.

The drill will involve, besides Kraft's department, police and fire departments from Billings and Laurel, the Lockwood Volunteer Fire Department, all three refineries, American Medical Response, the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office, Montana Highway Patrol, both hospitals, the Red Cross, the City-County Health Department, the FBI, the dispatch center, West and Laurel high schools and Rimrock Mall.