The Columbus Ohio Norfolk and Southern train derailment and accompanying fire has forced evacuation within a one mile radius. We would note that the fire was ignited in tankers carrying ethanol and although this is a very serious and dangerous situation, other chemicals could have made the problem much worse. Timing is always an issue during any disaster, and we would point out that in some cases the dead of night (when this occurred) is the worst possible time because sleeping victims may not be aware of the need to escape until it is too late. This nocturnal evacuation was hasty and if residents were not previously prepared for such a move, they would have had only minutes to gather whatever they thought (under great duress) was most important and flee. This evacuation scenario is the most difficult for victims and the most likely to end in separation, injury, or death.
The fire has been extinguished and evacuees are returning, but the accident's cause has still not been determined.
Questions: have you prepared for such a possibility? Is an interstate highway or railroad track within 5 miles of your residence?
The National Transportation Safety Board dispatched a 12-person team to investigate the derailment on the Norfolk Southern Corp. tracks, which led to spectacular explosions and the burning of three tank cars each carrying 30,000 gallons of ethanol. Nobody aboard the train was injured. (read more)
I'm grateful, in one respect as well, that this did not occur in a more populated area near more residents," he said. "It very well could have. A mile up or a mile south. North or south, east or west. It could have been tragic in other ways as well."
Assistant Chief David Whiting of the Columbus fire division said it was fortunate the accident occurred in the middle of the night. (read more)
The National Transportation Safety Board has sent a go-team to investigate an accident involving a freight train that derailed in Columbus, OH. There have been reports of injuries but no fatalities are reported at this time.
Railroad investigator Cy Gura will serve as the Investigator-in-Charge. NTSB Board Member Earl Weener is accompanying the team of 10 and will serve as the principal spokesman during the on-scene phase of the investigation. (read more)