Swedeborg school evacuated after anhydrous tanker train derailment
By: Darrell Todd Maurina
Posted: Tuesday, April 6, 2010 11:45 am
Emergency personnel set up a perimeter around a train wreck in Swedeborg.
SWEDEBORG, Mo. (April 6, 2010) — Students at Swedeborg School have been evacuated to Richland and the Swedeborg voting precinct has been moved to the Pulaski County Health Department in Crocker following a train derailment that includes at least one tanker car with anhydrous ammonia.
Waynesville Rural Fire Chief Doug Yurecko, who is handling media inquiries for Crocker Fire Chief Mark Fancher, said about 10 to 15 cars are off the track and the BNSF train tracks “look like spaghetti.”
While some tankers cars have overturned onto their sides and one may be on its top, Yurecko said all of the overturned tanker cars were empty. Initial reports of a leaking petroleum product appear to be wrong, he said.
A hopper car did partially overturn and spilled out a small amount of corn meal.
Yurecko said it currently appears that the anhydrous ammonia is the most dangerous item in the cars that derailed. That car may have lost its wheels but it still upright and is not leaking, he said.
Missouri Department of Transportation personnel have closed Highway 133 from Highway BB by the Pulaski County Western District road shed to Highway T at Swedeborg. It’s not clear how long the road will be closed.
“The most important thing is don’t come out; we really need to keep this area clear for emergency operations,” Yurecko said. “The incident commander assures me we’ll be here a long time. They may get this crossing open in the next couple of hours, but we’ll have some major cleanup out here. You can’t just call a wrecker to haul these tanker cars out of here.”
According to reports from the scene, “some kind of petroleum product” is leaking. St. Robert firefighters with hazardous material gear have been called to assist Crocker and Tri-County firefighters. Fort Leonard Wood personnel are also on standby and Waynesville firefighters are responding for crowd control.
The incident began about 9:30 a.m. As of 9:50 a.m., everyone except firefighters in full protective gear has been told not to approach the train cars to determine; law enforcement personnel have closed the junction of Highway T and Highway 133 and are telling all people in the area to back off at least 100 meters.
A medical command has been established at the Swedeborg School by Pulaski County Ambulance District personnel in case they are needed.