Klamath Falls, Ore. – It may have been just an exercise, but high drama unfolded at the Ross Ragland Theater in Klamath Falls as crews responded to a simulated terrorist attack.
In the scenario, an explosion triggers crowd panic during a performance at the Ragland.
Major Adam Lulay of the Oregon Army National Guard explains: “While they’re exiting the building, it triggered an explosive device, where it exposed a lot of the local population to an unknown substance.”
A robot did an initial search of the building, followed by hazmat crews who searched for additional threats.
Organizers say the theater is an excellent venue for the training.
“The lighting’s different, the familiarity with the location is challenging.” Notes Major Lulay. “So it really forces them to slow down and actually see what it is they’re doing.”
Ross Ragland Theater Executive Director Mark McCrary agrees. “It’s one of the few facilities in town that has the ability to bring hundreds of people together in this basin.”
Local hazmat crews worked with members of the 102nd Civil Support Team out of Salem.
“This kind of training could help the community in ways we had never thought possible.” Said McCrary, adding the training is a rehearsal for a production that no one hopes will ever be staged: “I hope it’s the most important performance that nobody is attending this year.”
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970’s. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.Lyle’s job history is quite colorful.
He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90’s as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.
“The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story”.
When he’s not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.