• Official: Derailed rail car fires should burn out overnight

    Updated:

    HYNDMAN, Pa. - AUGUST 3, 2017 9:47 P.M. UPDATE:

    Officials say the derailed freight train cars that have been ablaze for nearly a day and half in a small Pennsylvania town will burn themselves out overnight.
     
    About 1,000 residents of Hyndman spent the night in hotels following Wednesday's derailment that forced their evacuation.
     
    County safety crews and workers from CSX, the train's owner, helped residents retrieve pets and prescription medicines after they were ordered out of their homes Wednesday. Hyndman is about 100 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.
     
     
    At least 32 rail cars derailed, some containing hazardous materials. At least one house was practically sheared in half and one garage caught fire.
     
    A CSX spokesman says they're letting the propane burn itself out, which is safer than trying to extinguish it. Some of the train cars that didn't derail are being removed from the tracks. (AP)

    AUGUST 3, 2017 - 6:25 P.M. UPDATE:  

    The American Red Cross volunteers are offering help residents of Hyndman who were evacuated following Wednesday's train derailment.

    Red Cross volunteers are located at two reception centers:  Tri-State Ministries Center at 152 Hyndman Road and Bedford United Methodist Church at 132 East John Street.  The centers close at 10 p.m. Thursday and will reopen at 8 a.m. Friday. 

    Anyone needing help outside of those hours, is urged to contact call the CSX Incident Response Line at 1-00-331-4301.  

    AUGUST 3, 2017 - 3:35 UPDATE:

    Railroad officials with CSX said the trains that derailed yesterday are still on fire.  They expect the propane fire to be out late this evening.  CSX said at a press conference this afternoon that crews have started removing the rail cars not affected by the derailment. 

    The evacuation order remains in place to keep the public safe from the propane and sulfur fires.  There is no time estimate on when residents may return home.  CSX has extended hours operating hours of the two outreach centers and they are working with residents to retrieve pets and medications that were left behind.  

    CSX has also created a website, response.csx.com, where the public can access information about the outreach center 

    10:31 P.M. UPDATE: 

    A railroad company says it's unclear how long residents of a small Pennsylvania town will be evacuated following a freight train derailment. 

    CSX says hazardous materials specialists assessed the damage from a safe distance Wednesday afternoon and confirmed that several rail cars still are on fire in Hyndman, about 100 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. No injuries have been reported.

    The fire department has evacuated everyone within about a mile of the derailment site.

    CSX says it will continue monitoring the derailment throughout the night, along with first responders.

    The company says at least 32 rail cars derailed, some of which contain hazardous materials.

    CSX has opened a second community outreach center to help answer questions and provide resources for affected residents. (AP) 
     

    7:29 P.M. UPDATE: 

    The Red Cross said, in addition to the Reception Center that is operating at the Tri-State Ministries Center (152 Hyndman Road), another Reception Center is operating at the Bedford United Methodist Church (132 East John Street).

    Both centers will close at 10 p.m. Tuesday and will reopen at 8 a.m. Hyndman residents requiring overnight assistance should contact the CSX hotline at 800-331-4031.

     


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    7:02 P.M. UPDATE: 

    Following is a statement from CSX spokesperson Rob Doolittle:

    CSX continues to work closely with first responders in Hyndman, Penn., to manage the rail cars that derailed at about 5 a.m. today, and we remain focused on ensuring the safety of the surrounding community.  This afternoon CSX hazardous-materials specialists assessed the damage from a safe distance and confirmed several rail cars are still on fire. There are no reports of injuries. 

    As a safety precaution, the Hyndman Fire Department has issued an evacuation of everyone within approximately a mile of the derailment site. To meet the needs of impacted community members, CSX has opened a second community outreach center on the northern side of the derailment, in Bedford, to help answer questions and provide resources. The locations of the two community outreach centers are:

    Hyndman Ministry Center, 152 Hyndman Road, Hyndman, Penn.

    Bedford United Methodist Church, 132 East John Street, Bedford, Penn. 

    Impacted residents to the north of the derailment are encouraged to visit the Bedford outreach center. Both centers will be open until 10 p.m. tonight and will re-open at 8 a.m. tomorrow. CSX personnel in these outreach centers are able to make arrangements for lodging, transportation, food and other necessities. Community members can also call 1-800-331-4031 if they have any questions.

    CSX personnel and first responders will continue monitoring the derailment from a safe distance through the night. At least 32 rail cars derailed, some of which contain hazardous materials. At least one rail car containing liquified petroleum gas and at least one car containing molten sulphur have leaked and are on fire. CSX has set up environmental monitoring and we have not detected any impact to air quality. 

    The train involved was traveling from Chicago to Selkirk, N.Y., and consisted of five locomotives and 178 rail cars total. Of those, 128 cars were carrying mixed freight, including the materials involved in the incident and construction materials, paper and wood pulp. There were 50 empty rail cars on the train. 

    At this time there are no estimates of how long the evacuation may last or how long the cleanup may take, but CSX is committed to assisting impacted residents as long as needed and we will work as quickly as we can to get people back in their homes. Until then, we encourage people to follow the evacuation orders for their own safety. 
     

    6:49 P.M. UPDATE: 

    U.S. Sen. Bob Casey has released the following statement after today’s derailment in Bedford County:

    “I’m closely monitoring the derailment in Bedford County. My thoughts are with the residents who have been displaced and the first responders who are working tirelessly on this incident. Earlier today, I spoke with Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) Director, Richard D. Flinn, in order to receive a briefing on the derailment. I also spoke with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Administrator, Brock Long. My office has been in contact with local, state, federal officials and stakeholders, like Verizon, who are working to ensure residents and responders are safe and have access to phone service. This derailment only underscores the danger that large trains loaded with dangerous chemicals can pose to communities. Since 2014, I have raised concerns with rail companies, including CSX, about the safety of these trains and tank cars filled with hazardous materials. In the coming days, it will be important that a full investigation take place to determine the causes of this derailment.”

    6:28 P.M. UPDATE: 

    American Red Cross volunteers in Pennsylvania and Maryland are assisting Hyndman residents who have been displaced due to the CSX train derailment in Bedford County. 

    The Red Cross is stationed at the Command Center located at Tri-State Ministries Center at 152 Hyndman Road. There are also crews at a number of hotels in both Maryland and Pennsylvania, where residents are being housed.

    5:17 P.M. UPDATE: 

    Emergency officials said two rail cars are still burning after a CSX freight train derailed, sending 32 rail cars off the tracks. Everyone within a one-mile radius has been forced to evacuate, meaning all residents of Hyndman had to leave their homes. 

    A temporary no-fly zone was also in effect as of 5 p.m. to give priority to aircraft on official missions. Gov. Tom Wolf remains at the scene and said health officials are conducting air and ground studies to determine if there are any possible health effects. 

    A CSX spokesperson said the train was traveling from Chicago to Selkirk, New York, and had passed through Pittsburgh before derailing around 6 a.m. The rail line is also used by Amtrak, so people who had tickets to Washington, D.C., had to take a bus Wednesday. 

    The spokesperson said at least one car containing liquefied petroleum gas and one containing molten sulfur leaked and are still burning. 

    People who had to evacuate their homes are staying at a nearby church and are making hotel arrangements after railroad officials said the evacuation will likely last into the night. It is not clear when residents will be able to return home. 

    3:37 P.M. UPDATE: 

    Officials have confirmed this train traveled through Pittsburgh. 

    Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has arrived in Hyndman to meet first responders and residents who are affected by the derailment, fire and evacuation. 

    "Federal, state and local officials are working diligently to ensure that residents in the affected area are evacuated to safety and planning for possible additional impacts to the area," Wolf said in a news release. "These first responders deserve all of our thanks for their swift work to respond to this ongoing incident."
     
    The Pennsylvania State Incident Management Team is heading to Cumberland, Maryland, which will serve as their base of operations to support regional, county and local response personnel. 
     
    PEMA issued a Wireless Emergency Alert message to residents in Hyndman Borough. The message instructed residents to leave their homes and report to the Hyndman Ministry Church for assistance.
     
    Members of the public who have questions about this incident or where they can go for help can call the CSX Incident Response Line at 800-331-4031. The American Red Cross has activated their Safe and Well website, which enables people affected by a disaster to enter information regarding their welfare so family and friends can check their status.

    2:30 P.M. UPDATE: 

    Amtrak officials said the Pittsburgh-Washington, D.C., route is affected. Until the tracks reopen, bus service between the two cities will be provided for passengers. 

    According to an Amtrak alert, the Capitol Limited will originate and terminate in Pittsburgh until further notice. Buses will be used to transport customers to and from Washington, D.C. and stations in between. 

    11:48 A.M. UPDATE:

    At least 32 cars derailed in Bedford County this morning and at least two are on fire, according to CSX.

    One of those burning cars was carrying liquefied petroleum gas and one contained molten sulfur, CSX said. Both leaked.

    The train had five locomotives and 178 total rail cars, 50 of which were empty.


    HYNDMAN, Pa. (AP) — Part of a freight train derailed Wednesday morning in Pennsylvania setting three train cars afire and prompting emergency officials to evacuate nearby homes.

    No injuries were reported.
     
    Bedford County 911 coordinator Harry Corley said six cars on the CSX freight train derailed about 5 a.m. in Hyndman, about 100 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. A residential garage slammed in the derailment caught fire and residents in a 1-mile radius were urged to leave their homes.
     
    Corley said some of the train cars were filled with flammable liquid asphalt, but it wasn't immediately clear whether the derailed or burning cars were carrying the asphalt or something else. Officials also had no details on the cause of the crash.
     
    CSX spokesman Rob Doolittle said in an email that the train was traveling from Chicago to Selkirk, N.Y. He had no further details but said the company was working with first responders to protect public safety and CSX personnel.
     
    "CSX apologizes for the impact that this incident is having on the residents of Hyndman, and will continue to support first responders and the community," Doolittle said.
     
     
    An emergency shelter was set up at the Hope for Hyndman Charter School, and the American Red Cross was called in to help, said Corley and Red Cross spokesman Dan Tobin. The number of residents displaced or how long they will have to remain away from their homes was not immediately known.
     
    The fire was still burning hours after the derailment, and Corley said determining what's on fire and whether the liquid asphalt is fueling it was the top priority. Doolittle said more CSX workers were on the way to the crash.
     
    "CSX's top priority is to work cooperatively with first responders and other officials to protect the public's safety, and CSX personnel are on the scene assisting first responders, providing information about the contents of the train and expertise on responding to railroad incidents," Doolittle said.


     

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