Train derails in Bladen County
All Bladen and Columbus County emergency personnel were called Saturday to respond to the scene of a CSX train derailment in East Arcadia.
The train was traveling toward Wilmington carrying alcohol when it attempted to pass a locomotive train on the side of the tracks. At that point the cars derailed, and collided with the locomotive.
Major Chief Deputy Phillip Little of Bladen County Sheriff’s Department says, “Somewhere between 67 and 70 cars that are overturned, some of them are ruptured and are spilling hazardous materials.”
After Hazmat officials assessed the scene, they determined the train was carrying nearly 30,000 gallons of denatured alcohol. 6,000 gallons leaked onto the surrounding area. CSX called in it’s own hazardous material team to help clean up the scene, and properly deal with any pollutants. Thankfully, there were no water sources or homes nearby.
“We have determined at this time that there is no immediate threat to local residents, because the train is in a remote area, a remote wooded area with a lot of buffer between it and any local residents.”
The Bladen County Sheriff’s Department set up two staging areas, one for the railroad service team equipped with machinery to help flip the cars back over. Another for the emergency response teams from nearly six other nearby towns. Volunteer and East Arcadia resident Willie Mae Keaton was busy preparing lunch for the firefighters and law enforcement waiting nearby.
Willie Mae Keaton says, “Our towns are so close, we need to be together and help each other whenever we can.”