Toxic Threat Lingers in S.C. Train Wreck

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by nolatron, Jan 8, 2005.

  1. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Just saw this on yahoo and haven't seen it here yet:


    GRANITEVILLE, S.C. - Toxic vapors from one of the nation's deadliest chemical spills in years will keep residents out of their homes until at least early next week as cleanup crews try to stop chlorine gas from leaking out of a wrecked train car.

    At least eight people died and more than 250 were sickened after a freight train carrying the gas crashed early Thursday near a textile mill. The accident unleashed a greenish-yellow fog that seared people's eyes and lungs.

    About 5,400 residents within a one-mile radius of the crash were forced to evacuate, with authorities telling people Friday they would not be allowed to return until Tuesday at earliest. A dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed within two miles of the wreck for fear that cool night air would cause the chlorine to settle close to the ground.

    Authorities said all the deaths appeared to have been caused by the plume of gas that settled over its victims in their homes, their cars and the Avondale Mills textile plant. One of the dead was spotted by Gov. Mark Sanford, who flew over the site to survey the wreckage.

    Two nine-member crews were working around the clock to apply a steel patch over a fist-sized hole in the train, said Aiken County Sheriff's Lt. Michael Frank. The work could take until late Saturday.

    Workers also were to begin removing chlorine from two additional railroad tankers involved in the crash

    The accident happened about 2:40 a.m. Thursday when a Norfolk Southern freight train carrying 42 cars struck a parked train at a crossing next to the plant, where 400 workers were on the night shift making denim and other fabrics

    Monica Channey, 29, heard the boom at home when the trains collided but thought nothing of it at first. "It's always something with the trains or with the mill," she said.

    But when authorities came to evacuate her and her 12-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter, she bundled the children up "like mummies."

    Channey had a scarf covering her mouth but could still smell the chlorine. "The fumes were like 'whoosh' — a bad ammonia, stronger than any cleaning solution," she said. "It took my breath away."

    Five workers died at the mill. A man was found dead in a truck near the plant. Another man was found dead in his home. The train engineer died at a hospital.

    Federal officials were investigating the cause of the wreck, but most officials were kept out of the area because of the toxic gas.

    State and federal environmental officials have continued conducting air quality tests, finding either low levels or nothing at all a couple blocks away from the site. The crash site levels were higher.

    "How high? We are not sure," state Department of Health and Environmental Control spokesman Thom Berry said. The levels exceed the monitor's limits, he said.
  2. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Overhead view I found.


    Caption: Two Norfolk Southern trains collided head-on Thursday morning, releasing chlorine into the air and other chemicals on the ground near downtown Graniteville, S.C. Augusta Chronicle photo by Andrew Davis Tucker via Associated Press

    And another one I found.
  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    we had one too -- 25 years ago

    We had a train wreck involving chlorine in Mississauga 25 years ago. i put a thread in about it here .
    We were lucky (?) in that the train had cars full of propane all around the chlorine tank and it seems that the chlorine was carried high in the atmosphere in the first hour of the fire. But nobody knew that and a large suburb was evacuated for a week.
    Just before that, a chlorine leak in Florida had swept over a throughway and killed a number of motorists.
  4. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    I just read on a website that they found a ninth victim, he was the one that was missing since it all happened and he was a worker at the factory. Sad to hear about that & i feel really bad for the families and the families that lost a loved one.
  5. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Hi All:
    Latest news is that it was an open switch. They are trying to find out how it happened now, doing interviews and such. The mainline train was diverted onto the siding and into a parked engine and cars. I read that the siding train crew was off around 7:00 pm and the accident didn't happen till about 2:30 am. I'd be surprised if there was only one train passing this siding in 7 hours so i suspect there is more to the story.

    The local authorities are saying folks won't get to return to their homes till Wednesday. They are worried about another container starting to leak. The press seems to be saying that NS is doing the right things so far. Good for them. All the folks who have died so far did so from Chlorine inhalation.

  6. SAL Comet

    SAL Comet Member

    Ha Ted, I've been watching this story on the local news, That's what I heard, open switch. 04 wasn't a very good year for NS and 05 has started BAD!
  7. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    Has there been anymore news on the wreck?
  8. SAL Comet

    SAL Comet Member

    Ha Steamer, the latest I've heard is the FBI is investigating, but no foul play is suspected. The switch had been set by the apporprate personal. It appears to be human error.
  9. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    Oh Ok Thanks SAL Comet :wave:
  10. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    What a disaster. Doesn't do railroading much good as people get concerned with what is being moved through their neighbourhood.
  11. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Robin,Next time you are out railfaning check what is on the side end of the tank cars.. :eek: Gives you something to think about..Please note the 1-800 numbers on the hazmat cars.What are they thinking? Somebody is going to stand there writing down the number while there is a hazmat cloud floating from the car? :eek: Of course I jest.. :D I am sure that number is there in case of a non derailment leak.

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