(Bladenboro, North Carolina – February 2, 2013)
Whether or not the ground hog saw its shadow took secondary status in Bladenboro, NC Saturday when nine cars, including four tank cars intended for hazardous material transportation, of a 105-car CSX freight train traveling between Hamlet, NC and Wilmington, NC derailed due to the suspected collapse of a railroad trestle which carries CSX rails across a swampy area near the community’s downtown area caused the disrupting evacuation of an estimated 200 residents for nearly eight hours.
Among the endangered materials was a carload of ammonia in liquid state intended for use as farm fertilizer, while the hazardous materials contained in the other cars were not identified by responding hazmat experts.
Shortly after the 3:30 P.M. derailment, rescue workers, sheriff’s deputies and Bladenboro police officers went door-to-door through the multiple-block neighborhood between Village and Seaboard Streets, telling residents to evacuate the area. A large number went to an evacuation site set up at Bladenboro Middle School, while others stayed with family or friends until the order was lifted about 10:00 P.M. after the materials involved had been stabilized.
Hazardous material control agencies responding to the emergency included a hazmat team from the Fayetteville, NC Fire Dept., North Carolina Emergency Management officials and CSX’s hazmat investigators.