Train derailment raises fears of diesel fuel leak

Friday, September 9, 2005

BELL CITY, Mo. -- Officials feared diesel fuel contamination after two freight trains collided Wednesday afternoon in Stoddard County. At 12:46 p.m., Union Pacific Railroad in St. Louis reported to the Stoddard County Sheriff's Department that an accident occurred north of Bell City. A southbound train waiting on a side rail hit one of the boxcars of a northbound train on the mainline. Fire departments from Bell City and Advance, Mo., and Stoddard County Ambulance were dispatched. Bill Pippins, county emergency management director, arrived on the scene to find the trains lying sideways. The engines' 7,500-gallon diesel tanks buried in the ground, and fuel leaks into the ground were not readily detectable. Engine operators reported no hazardous cargo, Pippins said, and no injuries were reported. A hazardous materials clean-up crew, Eco Tech of Bloomfield, Mo., was dispatched to pump diesel into an 18-wheel truck and to dam any leaks that might occur during clean-up.

A second clean-up crew from Memphis, Tenn., assisted in moving the boxcars and engines. A 75-man Union Pacific crew repaired the line.

The first train ran on the rebuilt track at about 2 a.m.

Union Pacific officials reported that about 50 freight trains were backed up on north and south tracks, Pippins said, and the line is the company's second busiest rail line in the nation.

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