Authorities in Ohio say there is no indication of a public health risk from the derailment of a Norfolk Southern freight train between Dayton and Columbus, the second derailment of a company train in the state in a month.
Norfolk Southern and Clark County officials say 28 of the 212 cars on the southbound train, including four empty tanker trucks, derailed around 4:45 p.m. Saturday in the Springfield community near a business park and the county fairgrounds. Springfield is approximately 46 miles (74 km) west of the state capital of Columbus.
As a precaution, residents living within 1,000 feet were asked to protect themselves at the scene and responding firefighters deployed the county hazmat team as a precaution, but officials said early Sunday there was “no leads at this time.” for injury or risk to public health”.
A crew from Norfolk Southern, the hazmat team and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency “each independently surveyed the crash site and found that there was no evidence of spills at the site,” officials said.
Officials confirmed Sunday afternoon that no hazardous materials were involved in the derailment.
However, Norfolk Southern general manager Kraig Barner said a few other cars on the train, which ran from Bellevue, Ohio, to Birmingham, Alabama, were carrying liquid propane and a few more ethanol. The rest of the train is made up of mixed goods like steel and finished automobiles, he said.
“Many of the cars that actually derailed were empty boxcars,” Barner said.
Officials said two of the four empty tankers that derailed had previously been transporting diesel exhaust fluid, and the other two had residual amounts of polyacrylamide water solution, which Barner said is an additive commonly used in wastewater treatment.
According to county officials, environmental officials have confirmed the derailment is not near a protected water source, meaning there is no risk to public water systems or private wells. According to officials, the on-site protection order only affected four or five houses.
There were no reported injuries to the public or the train’s crew of two, he said. The cause of the derailment is being investigated and the results will be turned over to the Federal Railroad Administration, Barner said.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said late Saturday night that President Biden and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg called him “to offer help from the federal government.”
On February 3, 38 cars on a Norfolk-Southern freight train derailed in eastern Palestine in northeastern Ohio near Pennsylvania, and several cars on the train carrying hazardous materials caught fire.
Although no one was injured, nearby neighborhoods in both states were at risk. The crash prompted the evacuation of about half of the town’s roughly 5,000 residents, ongoing emergency relief from multiple governments, and ongoing concerns among villagers about long-term health effects.
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