(Elkton, Maryland – February 20, 2013)
The derailment of 10 cars, including two filled with sulfuric acid, of a 90-car CSX freight train powered by three locomotives late Wednesday night at about 11:45 P.M. near Elkton, MD caused emergency response from three states – Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania – and nearly resulted in massive evacuations before the material was found not to be leaking from the tank cars and the planned evacuation of nearby residents cancelled.
Sulfuric acid is a corrosive, pungent, colorless-to-slightly yellow liquid used in the manufacture of fertilizer, detergents, paint pigments, insecticides, anti-freeze and in the oil industry. Human exposure, dependent upon degree of concentration, can bring extreme danger to flesh, severe irritation to the eyes, respiratory tract and mucous membranes in addition to deterioration of the teeth.
The train, which was traveling between New York and North Carolina, derailed in a wooded area near Interstate Highway 95, and closed local roads near the site.
“We were very lucky,” said David Meaders, assistant fire chief of the Singerly, MD Fire Dept. “Anytime you get a train derailment, you never know what you’re going to end up having,” Meaders continued.
Officials from CSX were unresponsive to media calls for further information on the accident.