(Columbus, Ohio – July 11, 2012)
A 98-car Norfolk Southern freight train hauling, among other commodities, hazardous materials, derailed 11 cars in Columbus, OH early Wednesday morning, causing widespread evacuations, an explosion that could be seen and heard for miles, and injuries to two people who ran to the scene to investigate.
Fields Avenue, a major Columbus thoroughfare, was shut down between 5th and 11th Avenues while police and fire personnel first evacuated residents within a half mile radius of the blaze and then expanded the evacuation area.
The train was carrying both denatured alcohol and styrene, both volatile, flammable materials used in hundreds of industrial and manufactured processes, and to which exposure can cause undesired effects ranging from lethargy to blindness, death and cancer.
A major waste removal and recycling company which services residential and commercial customers in at least three counties was among the industries shut down by the evacuation, disrupting trash pickup schedules and service.
The National Transportation Safety Board’s railroad accident 10-member “Go” team was ordered to the scene and will arrive in Columbus later Wednesday.