PITTSBURGH - When a Norfolk Southern double-decker freight train flew off the tracks at Station Square in August, city of Pittsburgh police, fire and emergency medical services units hopped into action. We spoke to the city's chief operations officer about all that went into the response.
"We had 24/7 coverage over there with our emergency management folks, fire bureau and EMS," Guy Costa said. "Public Works set up road detours and road closures, and police were there to direct traffic along the detours from the closure of Carson Street."
The entire effort lasted four days, until the derailment was cleaned up and the tracks reopened.
- $54,000 for police, fire and EMS. This included a fire company taken out of service and dedicated to the scene.
- $5,000 for Public Works for setting up barricades. It also went toward a street sweeper to clean Carson Street and other duties.
- $4,000 for personnel to oversee the cleanup operations and an engineering consultant to determine whether Norfolk Southern could stage equipment on a city bridge.
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The total costs for the city came to more than $64,000. The city sent a bill to Norfolk Southern, but they requested more detailed information.
"They needed to know exactly how we came up with our costs for equipment," Costa told Target 11's Rick Earle.
Costa said it's standard operating procedure, and the city charges events like the Marathon and the Regatta for similar uses. They already had a costs breakdown we could view.
A fire truck, for instance, goes for $200 per hour. A paramedic will run $47 per hour, and a river rescue boat costs $400 per day.
Norfolk Southern Vice President Rudy Husband told me the train company's claims department is working on the reimbursement.
"As long as the expenses are documented to be related to the derailment, we will sit down and work with them on reimbursements," Husband said.
The Port Authority is still tallying up its bills. Those are expected to be higher than the city's costs.
We've spoken to the Port Authority and will let you know what they file with Norfolk Southern.
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