Hazmat Train Derails Near Louisville | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: January 17, 2007

Hazmat Train Derails Near Louisville

Second CSX rail accident in Kentucky in two days causes injuries, evacuation
Department: Government & Policy
News Channels: Environmental SCENE

Twenty-five cars on a CSX freight train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed about 30 miles south of Louisville, Ky., on Jan. 16, resulting in a smoky fire that sent at least 19 people to local medical centers for treatment and forced the evacuation of nearby homes, businesses, and a school.

A statement issued by Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher says the accident caused no fatalities and no significant injuries. Local fire departments, working with the Kentucky State Fire Marshal, have decided to let the fire burn out.

"The state is utilizing all of the resources at our disposal to provide support in response to the derailment," Fletcher says. "Our priority continues to be the safety and security of the citizens in the area. We will aggressively monitor and evaluate the situation and do everything possible to ensure the fire is managed safely."

Residents and businesses in the rural area surrounding the wreck were ordered to evacuate because of smoke and potentially hazardous fumes. Nineteen people have been treated at Bullitt County medical centers for eye irritation and respiratory problems related to the derailment, though none of the injuries is thought to be serious.

CSX says the train, consisting of four locomotives and 80 cars, was traveling north to Louisville from Birmingham, Ala. A total of 25 cars in the middle of the train left the rails; 14 caught fire, and a dozen of those were carrying hazardous materials, according to the railroad.

A CSX official says the train was carrying a number of chemicals, including cyclohexane, 1,3-butadiene, and methyl ethyl ketone. The railroad has an environmental expert on the scene checking the potential impact from the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board has dispatched a seven-member team of investigators to investigate, including its chairman, Mark Rosenker. NTSB investigates only 15 to 20 of the 3,000 to 4,000 rail accidents that occur each year.

It was the second accident involving CSX trains in Kentucky in two days. On Monday, four rail cars in central Kentucky broke free and traveled several miles before slamming into two parked locomotives.

One of the four runaway cars contained 30,000 gal of butyl acetate, which caught fire after the crash. The accident prompted a limited evacuation, but no injuries were reported.

 
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