(Bartow, Florida – March 7, 2012)
The driver of a fuel truck with a capacity of 3,000 gallons of diesel fuel was confirmed dead Wednesday morning about 10:30 A.M., when his truck was struck by a CSX Railroad local freight train at a dangerous, unguarded crossing on the property of Mosaic Phosphorus Company in Bartow, FL, causing the truck to explode into a massive fireball and dense smoke that could be seen for miles.
The chemical plant site and the NS railroad both parallel State Road 60, which had to be closed down for hours as firefighters allowed the fire to burn itself out. The chassis of the truck, with the driver still inside the cab, remained impaled upon the nose of the CSX locomotive, from which three railroad crewmen escaped unharmed, but not until the train had pushed the burning truck several hundred feet beyond the crossing.
The private crossing, for which trains are not required to blow their whistles, was “guarded” only by a standard, passive railroad crossbuck sign and had no automatic lights, bells or gates to protect drivers from oncoming trains.
The train was powered by a single locomotive and was pulling five freight cars, three of them tank cars filled with either phosphoric or sulfuric acid, both extremely hazardous.