Train derails in Quincy, spills low-hazardous chemical

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By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
Updated - January 31, 2018

Courtesy: GCSO

QUINCY, Fla. (WCTV) -- A train derailed just before 7 a.m. Tuesday along Pat Thomas Parkway near Live Oak Street in Quincy.

"Bam! It woke me up," said area resident Chris Manuel.

"I couldn't help but hear it because it woke me up," said Curtis Fields, who also lives nearby.

Fields says hearing the loud sound made him curious. "I said, oh man, I've been around a lot of cities that had derailments, let me go see what this one looks like. When I came up, it was a pile of junk all over the place."

Dozens of workers were out picking up the piles of train pieces. Sets of metal wheels lay everywhere.

"There's a sectional wheel that came down the road where people stop at. Thank God nobody was on the road at that particular time because it would've been a disaster," Fields said.

Authorities say eight cars derailed from the tracks, turning them on their sides.

Two of the cars spilled a white powdery substance. Authorities say it's adipic acid, a low-hazard chemical that is not a hazard to the community.

Raymond Hobley lives a few blocks away. He said, "I had never seen anything like this happen before over all these years. I'm so glad it didn't hit nobody's home or nothing like that. I'm glad things were no worse than what it was."

It took several minutes to lift and push one train car using cranes and bulldozers.

Lillie Smith said she heard the loud sound from her home and decided to go look. "I've seen one before years ago when I was living in Gretna. It was about three or four cars went down. But, I've never seen none like this before."

No one was injured, and there is still no word on the cause of the derailment. CSX officials say the incident is currently under investigation.

As of 12 p.m. Wednesday, crews were still on the scene cleaning up. Pat Thomas Parkway was closed for several hours on Tuesday but has since reopened.

CSX Railroad, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Department of Emergency Management, as well as the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office and the Quincy Police Department, were assisting on scene.

WCTV has confirmed that the National Transportation Safety Board is not investigating the derailment at this time. Investigators can be called in based on factors like damage to the train and tracks, fatalities, hazardous spills, and impact to the environment.

A CSX spokesperson provided us with the following statement on Wednesday:

"CSX continues working to restore the site where a train derailed Tuesday morning in Quincy, FL. Yesterday, crews began moving the seven derailed cars to a staging area on CSX property. All product that spilled on the ground has been cleaned up and track repairs have begun. The Pat Thomas Parkway railroad crossing has reopened to motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic. CSX will continue working as quickly as safety allows to restore train service in this area. CSX appreciates the swift response of the Quincy Fire Department and Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday morning. The cause of this incident remains under investigation. The train was traveling from New Orleans, La. to Waycross, Ga. when it derailed at approximately 6:00 a.m. Tuesday at the Pat Thomas Parkway in Quincy. The train consisted of two locomotives, 53 loaded rail cars of mixed freight and 34 empty rail cars."

In response to questions about the staff members operating the train during the incident, CSX spokesperson said:

"CSX's top priority is the safety of our employees and communities where we operate. All CSX policies meet or exceed federal regulations and support the goal of operating safely every day. Every CSX employee is expected to arrive at work rested, alert, and ready to perform his or her job duties, and employees are empowered to report any unsafe behavior or situations. CSX does not publicly discuss personnel issues or records of specific individuals who work for the company."

We have also reached out to the Federal Railroad Administration. Officials said they are aware of yesterday’s derailment, but are not investigating the incident at this time.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News
January 30, 2018

QUINCY, Fla. (WCTV) -- A train in downtown Quincy has flipped onto its side, the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office confirms.

GCSO says the train was traveling along Pat Thomas Parkway when it derailed near Live Oak Street.

There are no reported injuries.

GCSO says CSX, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the Florida Department of Emergency Management have arrived on scene.

CSX has brought in a crane to help move the train cars.

Authorities say material from the train did spill, but it is described as an "environmental hazard solid" and does not pose a safety threat to the public. The DEP is on hand to make sure it's cleaned up safely and securely.

We have a reporter at the scene. We will bring you more information as it becomes available.

Courtesy: GCSO

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