A massive explosion shook the town of Rosedale MD when a train derailed and caught fire. According to reports from the Associated Press (AP), a CSX freight train, traveling through a railroad in the suburb of Baltimore, hit a garbage truck, derailed off the tracks and burst into flames.
The driver of the garbage truck, 50-year-old John J. Alban Jr., was listed in serious condition. The two CSX workers on the freight train were not injured.
Witnesses reported the explosion caused homes to rattle at least a half-mile away and sent a huge plume of smoke into the air that could be seen for miles. Hours later, the smoke could still be seen coming from the site. Two warehouses near the site of the crash were heavily damaged, including one building where the entire face of the structure was blown off.
Hazmat teams were called to the scene, but Baltimore County Fire Chief reported that no toxic inhalants were being emitted from the burning freight train cars. A spokesperson from CSX, which is headquartered in Jacksonville FL, said one of the train cars contained sodium chlorate, an oxidizer used in a variety of industrial processes. Sodium chlorate is classified as a hazardous material by the by U.S. Department of Transportation. When the chemical is mixed with fuel, it can cause a volatile explosion. Inhaled fumes can cause lung irritation.
Photo of CRX freight train derailment.
Another car was carrying terephthalic acid, which contains chlorine, and is used in the production of plastic and polyester. A third car was transporting fluoroacetic acid, a chemical used in the production of pesticides. The National Institutes of Health website describes fluoroacetic acid as an "extremely toxic" substance that produces poisonous gases when burned. However, neither of those two acids is classified as hazardous by the DOT.
Past incidents of train derailments have produced tragic consequences, such as the one that occurred in Graniteville, S.C. several years ago. Norfolk Southern Railway Co. was ordered to pay $4 million in penalties for an accident that released toxic chlorine gas that killed nine people.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Railroad Administration, as well as police, continue to investigate the incident, which occurred at a private railroad crossing that was only marked by a stop sign.
Our railroad injury law firm has reported on several CSX incidents where victims have been seriously injured or killed. Last year, a tractor trailer was killed when his truck was hit by a CSX freight train while crossing railroad tracks in Virginia. And just a few months ago, a worker was seriously injured at the site of another CSX derailment in West Virginia.
Our Virginia railroad injury lawyers have represented many victims who have suffered severe injuries from railroad accidents, including one client we were able to secure a record-setting $60 million award for. If you have been injured in a railroad incident, answers to FAQ’s can be found here.