(Calhoun, Louisiana – September 23, 2011)
A Kansas City Southern Railway train hauling 123 freight cars from Artesia, MS to Shreveport, LA derailed 32 cars in rural Lincoln Parish, LA, about 9:00 P.M. Sunday night, disrupting life for local residents. An evacuation of those living in the vicinity of the accident forced them to spend Sunday night with friends or relatives or in hotel rooms provided by KCS due to fact that two of the wrecked cars contained carbon disulfide, a colorless, volatile, highly flammable liquid which emits an ether-like odor.
After it was determined that the chemical was not compromised, residents were allowed to return to their homes, even though over 200 emergency vehicles plugged area roadways and cleanup was estimated to require two more days to rebuild the half mile of torn up track and to re-rail or remove the derailed freight cars.
Local resident Joe Watts, who can watch trains roll past his home, was deeply concerned due to the fact that, in 2007, another KCS derailment occurred in the same spot, and he feels the tracks to be unsafe because they were not properly repaired.
“If one of those cars blows up – they’re hauling chemicals – so if one of those cars blows up and takes out my house or my neighbor’s house, what are they going to do then? A little bit of (track maintenance) work now would save a whole lot of heartache down the road,” said Watts.