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LANCASTER, OH – An Indiana & Ohio train derailed at 7:10 a.m. Thursday morning on March 1, in Lancaster, Ohio when the train engine hit a derailer, sending it and possibly one other car off a track, spilling between 900 and 1,500 gallons of fuel near the Hocking River.

Maureen Kocot at 10TV News points out the derailer and warning flag used to alert the train conductor before the derailment in Lancaster, OH on March 1, 2012.

According to 10 TV News, the train conductor said that the sun was in his eyes and he was unable to see the warning flags.

The accident occurred near Ety Road and a railroad bridge crossing the Hocking River. The train hit one of the derailers and the engine wheels went up and over the track, according to officials at the scene.

Map showing location of train derailment behind the River Valley Mall near Ety Road in Lancaster, OH on March 1, 2012.

Lancaster engineering department officials said on Thursday that most of the diesel fuel from the train derailment has been contained at a holding pond next to the railroad tracks.

“We have very little environmental damage so far in the Hocking River and what diesel fuel is leaching has been diverted to a holding pond and will be cleaned up,” said Denise Crews, storm water coordinator in the city engineer’s office. “I understand that the cleanup crews hired by the railroad company will be drilling six collection wells near the site of the spill and will be removing any diesel fuels that comes into them.”

Railroad workers at the scene declined to talk about the incident.

Lancaster Fire Chief Dave Ward said, “From what we’ve been able to find out, the engineer was coming down the track at a slow speed. There was some work being done on the bridge abutment and derailers had been placed on either side of the bridge and had been installed to protect the workers. The engineer failed to see the red flags out in time because the sun was in his eyes.”

“It also caught the fuel tank and cut a 1- inch-by-1 1/2-foot hole in the tank,” Ward said. “No one was injured; however our county’s hazmat team, Ohio EPA, and clean up teams will have to deal with the spill.”

Crews dug six wells to collect diesel fuel from the site where train went off track. Rick Hoffman, chief of the Fairfield County Hazmat team, said train crews worked to remove any remaining fuel left in the train engine’s tank.

“The diesel fuel leaked into the railroad bed,” Hoffman said. “It’s not in a good location, with the spill happening next to the Hocking River and a retention pond.”

The incident remains under investigation at this time.


Published by FELA lawyer news blog at Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP

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