Oct. 19--Five railroad cars derailed above South Anthony Boulevard between Creighton Avenue and Wayne Trace early Thursday afternoon.
A witness at Import Auto Parts on South Anthony described the scene, which left three hopper cars and a diesel tanker on their sides at around 1:26 p.m. The fifth car left the track but remained upright, according to a statement from Norfolk Southern spokesman Jonathan Glass. No hazardous materials were involved in the derailment, and no one was injured.
"It went 'Bang, bang bang' then we saw a cloud of smoke," said Mack Magee. "I called 911 because anything could be in (those cars)."
The tanker car, carrying close to 30,000 gallons of diesel fuel, did not rupture, said Paul Veldman, chief of operations with the Fort Wayne Fire Department.
Communication between emergency services and Norfolk Southern helped ascertain the extent of the damage and the potential danger to area residents. The individual train cars each carry identification numbers that allowed the FWFD to look them up on their phones and determine what the cargo was and how much was inside, Veldman said.
The FWFD asked the Fort Wayne Police Department to deploy its drone to identify any leaks from the cars or other concerns from above, but it determined the tanker was intact.
The train had been leaving the railroad's Piqua Yard, a small switch yard in Fort Wayne, so it wasn't going very fast, Glass said. A train crew was backing the 7,559-foot-long train out of the yard and was preparing to depart for Conway, Pa., when the derailment occurred. The train consisted of three locomotives and 121 rail cars.
Traffic was reopened on South Anthony Boulevard about an hour after the incident. The railroad will be responsible for investigating the cause of the derailment and cleaning up the scene, a process that could take a few hours, Veldman said.
Glass said it's unknown how long it will take to clean up the spill, but an NS contractor has been called in. "An NS contractor with environmental expertise was called in to inspect the tank car as a precaution," Glass's statement said.
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