Several emergency response agencies responded to an early morning train derailment in Proctor Tuesday morning.
At 2:49 a.m. Wetzel County 911 received a report from the CSX Brooklyn Rail Yard that one of their trains had derailed in the Proctor area.
According to New Martinsville Fire Chief Larry Couch, New Martinsville firefighters arrived on the scene at 3:05 a.m. and found the train derailed along the tracks at the north end of Proctor, between the Grandview Doolin PSD Office and the south end of the Bayer Chemical Plant. Several rail cars were off of the tracks, including cars that contained chlorine and sodium hydroxide pellets.
The massive operation to upright and remove the derailed train cars just north of Proctor continued Tuesday evening, after an early morning incident. CSX said they expected train traffic to be restored by Tuesday night. (Photo by Amy?Witschey)
"We were able to determine that all railroad personnel were accounted for and uninjured, as well as assess the cars quickly and determined that only one car had released any materials," said Couch.
"The damaged car was a hooper car loaded with sodium hydroxide pellets. Of the 132 tons on board that car, it was estimated that between two to three tons of the pellets had spilled, but they did not result in any toxic release into the environment."
Couch further reports that initially law enforcement officers from New Martinsville Police Department and the Marshall County Sheriff's Department closed state Route 2 through the Proctor area. The highway was reopened at 3:47 a.m., once the integrity of all of the rail cars was determined and that an evacuation would not be needed.
"The damage was extensive to several cars and the rail tracks, but we were very fortunate that none of the chlorine or other cars were penetrated and that neither the residents nor the sensitive ecological area along this area were in any immediate danger," Couch said.
He states that there were five rail cars on their sides off of the track and seven cars derailed but remained upright off of the tracks. The locomotives and remaining cars of the 32-car train were all on the tracks after the derailment. Couch states that NMVFD left the scene at 5:18 a.m.
"We believe that all, or most, of the rail cars were coming from the PPG Plant in Natrium and that they were headed south to the Brooklyn switch yard in the southern end of New Martinsville," adds Couch. He adds that CSX Supervisors as well as Contractors for CSX, the West Virginia DEP and other agencies were notified and responded to the scene to oversee the uprighting of the derailed cars, cleaning-up of the spill, and the repairing of the tracks.
A CSX representative said he expected train traffic to be moving in the area again by Tuesday night.
Couch reports that the NMVFD responded with seven firefighters, three fire engines, a personnel vehicle, and Haz-Mat trailer. NMVFD were assisted by the New Martinsville Police Department, Wetzel and Marshall County Sheriffs Departments, and Wetzel County EMS. Agencies placed on stand-by during the incident were: Paden City Volunteer Fire Company, Grandview Volunteer Fire Department, and Washington Lands Volunteer Fire Department.