Train derails in Quincy, spills low-hazardous chemical

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QUINCY, Fla. (WCTV) -- A train derailed just before 7 a.m. Tuesday along Pat Thomas Parkway near Live Oak Street in Quincy.

Courtesy: GCSO

"Bam! It woke me up," said area resident Chris Manuel.

"I couldn't help but hear it because it woke me up," said Curtis Fields, who also lives nearby.

Fields says hearing the loud sound made him curious. "I said, oh man, I've been around a lot of cities that had derailments, let me go see what this one looks like. When I came up, it was a pile of junk all over the place."

Dozens of workers were out picking up the piles of train pieces. Sets of metal wheels lay everywhere.

"There's a sectional wheel that came down the road where people stop at. Thank God nobody was on the road at that particular time because it would've been a disaster," Fields said.

Authorities say eight cars derailed from the tracks, turning them on their sides.

Two of the cars spilled a white powdery substance. Authorities say it's adipic acid, a low-hazard chemical that is not a hazard to the community.

Raymond Hobley lives a few blocks away. He said, "I had never seen anything like this happen before over all these years. I'm so glad it didn't hit nobody's home or nothing like that. I'm glad things were no worse than what it was."

It took several minutes to lift and push one train car using cranes and bulldozers.

Lillie Smith said she heard the loud sound from her home and decided to go look. "I've seen one before years ago when I was living in Gretna. It was about three or four cars went down. But, I've never seen none like this before."

No one was injured, and there is still no word on the cause of the derailment. CSX officials say the incident is currently under investigation.

As of 12 p.m. Wednesday, crews were still on the scene cleaning up. Pat Thomas Parkway was closed for several hours on Tuesday but has since reopened.

CSX Railroad, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Department of Emergency Management, as well as the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office and the Quincy Police Department, were assisting on scene.

WCTV has confirmed that the National Transportation Safety Board is not investigating the derailment at this time. Investigators can be called in based on factors, like damage to the train and tracks, fatalities, hazardous spills, and impact to the environment.

A CSX spokesperson provided us with the following statement on Wednesday:

"CSX continues working to restore the site where a train derailed Tuesday morning in Quincy, FL. Yesterday, crews began moving the seven derailed cars to a staging area on CSX property. All product that spilled on the ground has been cleaned up and track repairs have begun. The Pat Thomas Parkway railroad crossing has reopened to motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic. CSX will continue working as quickly as safety allows to restore train service in this area.

CSX appreciates the swift response of the Quincy Fire Department and Gadsden County Sheriff's Office Tuesday morning. The cause of this incident remains under investigation. The train was traveling from New Orleans, La. to Waycross, Ga. when it derailed at approximately 6:00 a.m. Tuesday at the Pat Thomas Parkway in Quincy. The train consisted of two locomotives, 53 loaded rail cars of mixed freight and 34 empty rail cars."

WCTV also reached out and are awaiting comment from the Federal Railroad Administration, which is a part of the Department of Transportation.

Courtesy: GCSO

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