(Fort Worth, Texas – April 24, 2019)
A large number of residents of south Fort Worth, TX, were evacuated by firefighters about 1:00 AM, CDT early Wednesday morning after an estimated two dozen tank cars loaded with highly flammable ethanol derailed on the Union Pacific Railroad.
Residents of at least 20 homes in several neighborhoods near the tracks just west of Riverside and East Berry Streets were awakened, and were transported to the Worth Heights Community Center. A very large amount of ethanol poured from ruptured tank cars into nearby creeks and Echo Lake.
The derailment occurred in a residential neighborhood, and flames from the burning railcars spread to a nearby horse barn. At least three of the fifteen horses that were stabled died from the scorching fire. Several horses were rescued safely, but a horse owned by nearby resident Osvaldo Martinez , as well as one who was owned by a friend, were among the casualties. “I tried to go down there, but they (emergency officials) wouldn’t let me,” the grieving horse owner lamented.
Ethanol from several of the ruptured rail cars caught fire, and Fort Worth firemen battled the blazes for at least seven hours before the precautions turned from fire and explosion to air quality monitoring. FWFD Spokesman Mike Drivdahl predicted that “There will be an extensive cleanup operation” once the flames are extinguished, the cars rerailed and residents are returned safely to their homes.