WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Crews are working to reopen the only road into Wilmington’s Love Grove community after a train derailed this morning. They expect King Street to reopen around 10 p.m.
In the meantime a temporary road is set up for residents to get in and out for emergencies.
“I heard the loud noise when it came off the tracks,” resident Tom Atwood said. “Then you heard a loud rumble.”
It was not the way folks Love Grove residents expected to wake up Friday morning.
“Fire shooting from under the train, so I quickly put on my clothes and ran outside,” Atwood said.
Outside residents like Atwood saw they were trapped by a derailed train blocking King Street, which is the only way into their neighborhood. The only way in or out was on foot.
“We’ve been trying to get another exit out of Love Grove since I was a child,” resident Yolanda Homes said.
After the derailment, residents say they hope this will shed light on what they say is a bigger problem.
“This is a major disaster that is going on, and if something were to happen to what was in those tanks, just think about all those people it would affect,” resident Rosa Mack said.
CSX says those tanks contained xylene and methanol, which are chemicals that could catch fire. Crews evacuated 16 homes as a precaution.
“The methanol is used to make many different kinds of solvents, and the xylene, you can make soda bottles,” CSX Hazardous Materials Manager Harry Hopes said.
Ronald Davis, whose mother lives in Love Grove, said his friend saw a cracked joint on the tracks a week ago and notified CSX.
“He said eventually this thing is going to break and cause a problem,” Davis said.
Hopes says crews will use bulldozers and cranes to move the cars back onto the track.
“We will walk them down to what’s called a good track structure basically putting them back on the roadway,” he said.
CSX has not yet responded to our questions about whether it had received a report of damage to the track before the derailment.