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The Latest: Federal investigators arrive at fiery derailment

Written by The Associated Press | Aug 2, 2017 2:42 PM
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(Hyndman) -- Federal investigators have arrived at the scene of a freight train derailment in Bedford County but can't assess the situation because train cars are still burning.

The National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Terry Williams says investigators arrived in at Hyndman, about 100 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, late Wednesday afternoon.

He says since the fires are still burning and an evacuation order remains in place, investigators haven't been able to look at the scene yet.

At least 32 cars on a CSX freight train derailed at Hyndman. There are no reported injuries.

At least one car containing liquefied petroleum gas and one containing molten sulfur have leaked and are on fire.

All residents of Hyndman had been ordered to evacuate, but Gov. Tom Wolf says a handful of people have refused to leave.

An earlier story appears below. 

(Hyndman) -- Nearly three dozen cars of a freight train carrying hazardous materials careened off the tracks in a small Pennsylvania town Wednesday, igniting fires in some rail cars and a garage and forcing emergency officials to evacuate the whole town.

No injuries were reported.

At least 32 cars on the CSX freight train derailed about 5 a.m. in Hyndman, about 100 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, said CSX spokesman Rob Doolittle. The train was traveling from Chicago to Selkirk, New York.

At least one car containing liquid petroleum gas, and one containing molten sulfur leaked and caught fire, Doolittle said. A residential garage struck during the derailment also caught fire, officials said.

It was not immediately known what caused the train to run off the rails, and the fire continued to burn hours after the derailment.

The only confirmed structure fire was at the garage, but video from the scene seems to show more extensive damage.

Aerial footage of the derailment shows a number of cars stacked nearly perpendicular to the tracks while others landed in a burning, zig-zag pattern in a residential area where some structures seemed crushed and other ablaze.

Hyndman resident Jim Shaffer told the (Cumberland) Times-News he was awakened by the sound of crashing rail cars.

"It woke me up. It was louder than a thunderstorm," he said. "I heard the cars banging into each other. Then I heard the fire whistle."

Bedford County 911 coordinator Harry Corley said officials ordered everyone within a 1-mile radius of the derailment to leave hours after the derailment. The order encompasses the entire town of Hyndman, and residents have been directed to a local church for help with lodging and food.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, in a phone interview from the evacuation center several miles away from the train, said some neighbors have refused to leave their homes.
"But everyone knows where they are and they're safe at this point," Wolf said Wednesday afternoon.

Only a few people were in the church, as most evacuees chose to go to hotels or the homes of friends or relatives, he said.

Wolf said officials were conducting air and ground studies to determine possible health effects.

He said area residents have "a lot of uncertainty and everyone's hoping for the best, praying for the best."

Asked about the risk of a propane explosion, Wolf said, "There's always that possibility. I think, from what I hear, the potential of that happening has diminished somewhat."
A number of roads are closed, and some flight restrictions are in place.

Amtrak suspended train service between Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., providing buses to take passengers between the two stations.

"CSX apologizes for the impact that this incident is having on the residents of Hyndman," Doolittle said.

Hyndman is a town of just over 800 residents near the Maryland border.

"CSX's top priority is to work cooperatively with first responders and other officials to protect the public's safety, and CSX personnel are on the scene assisting first responders, providing information about the contents of the train and expertise on responding to railroad incidents," Doolittle said.

An earlier story appears below. 

(Hyndman) -- Nearly three dozen cars of a freight train carrying hazardous materials careened off the tracks in a small Pennsylvania town Wednesday, igniting fires in some rail cars and a garage and forcing emergency officials to evacuate the whole town.

No injuries were reported.

At least 32 cars on the CSX freight train derailed about 5 a.m. in Hyndman, about 100 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, said CSX spokesman Rob Doolittle. The train was traveling from Chicago to Selkirk, New York.

At least one car containing liquid petroleum gas, and one containing molten sulfur leaked and caught fire, Doolittle said. A residential garage struck during the derailment also caught fire, officials said.

It was not immediately known what caused the train to run off the rails, and the fire continued to burn hours after the derailment.

The only confirmed structure fire was at the garage, but video from the scene seems to show more extensive damage.

Aerial footage of the derailment shows a number of cars stacked nearly perpendicular to the tracks while others landed in a burning, zig-zag pattern in a residential area where some structures seemed crushed and other ablaze.

Hyndman resident Jim Shaffer told the (Cumberland) Times-News he was awakened by the sound of crashing rail cars.

"It woke me up. It was louder than a thunderstorm," he said. "I heard the cars banging into each other. Then I heard the fire whistle."

Bedford County 911 coordinator Harry Corley said officials ordered everyone within a 1-mile radius of the derailment to leave hours after the derailment. The order encompasses the entire town of Hyndman, and residents have been directed to a local church for help with lodging and food.

Gov. Tom Wolf said officials were conducting air and ground studies to determine possible health effects. The governor was traveling to the derailment's command center Wednesday afternoon.

A number of roads are closed, and some flight restrictions are in place.

Amtrak suspended train service between Pittsburgh and Washington, providing buses to take passengers between the two stations.

"CSX apologizes for the impact that this incident is having on the residents of Hyndman," Doolittle said.

Hyndman is a town of just over 800 residents near the Maryland border.

"CSX's top priority is to work cooperatively with first responders and other officials to protect the public's safety, and CSX personnel are on the scene assisting first responders, providing information about the contents of the train and expertise on responding to railroad incidents," Doolittle said.

An earlier story appears below. 

(Hydman) -- All residents of a small Pennsylvania town are being evacuated hours after a freight train carrying hazardous materials partly derailed, setting some cars ablaze.

Bedford County 911 coordinator Harry Corley says officials have ordered everyone within a 1-mile radius of the derailment to leave. He says that encompasses the entire town of Hyndman, about 100 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

At least 32 cars on a CSX freight train derailed early Wednesday.

CSX spokesman Rob Doolittle says at least one car containing liquefied petroleum gas and one containing molten sulfur have leaked and are on fire.

There are no reports of injuries.

Gov. Tom Wolf says health officials are conducting air and ground studies to determine possible health effects.

A number of roads are closed and some flight restrictions are in place.

An earlier story is below:

Officials say some train cars that derailed in Pennsylvania were carrying hazardous materials and the cars still are burning hours after the derailment.

CSX spokesman Rob Doolittle says at least 32 cars on the CSX freight train derailed about 5 a.m. Wednesday in Hyndman, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) southeast of Pittsburgh.

He says at least one car containing liquefied petroleum gas and one containing molten sulfur have leaked and are on fire.

There are no reports of injuries.

Firefighters evacuated everyone within a half-mile of the site. A state emergency management spokeswoman says hundreds of people had to leave their homes.

Doolittle says the train was traveling from Chicago to Selkirk, New York, and had five locomotives and 178 rail cars.

There's no word on what caused the derailment.

*An earlier version is below*

(Hyndman) -- A freight train partly derailed early this morning in a small Bedford County town, setting three train cars and a garage on fire and prompting emergency officials to evacuate nearby homes.

No injuries were reported.

Bedford County 911 coordinator Harry Corley said six cars on the CSX freight train derailed about 5:00 a.m. in Hyndman, about 100 mile southeast of Pittsburgh. People within a one-mile radius were urged to leave their homes.

Some cars were filled with flammable liquid asphalt, but it wasn't immediately clear whether the derailed or burning cars were carrying the asphalt or something else. The cause of the crash was not immediately known.

A residential garage struck in the derailment also caught fire.

CSX spokesman Rob Doolittle said the train was traveling from Chicago to Selkirk, New York. He had no further details.

"CSX apologizes for the impact that this incident is having on the residents of Hyndman, and will continue to support first responders and the community," Doolittle said.

Hyndman is a town of fewer than 1,000 people close to the Maryland border. An emergency shelter was set up at the Hope for Hyndman Charter School, and the American Red Cross was called in to help, said Corley and Red Cross spokesman Dan Tobin. The number of residents displaced was not immediately known.

The fire was still burning more than two hours after the derailment. Corley said determining what was on fire and whether the liquid asphalt was fueling it was a priority.

"CSX's top priority is to work cooperatively with first responders and other officials to protect the public's safety, and CSX personnel are on the scene assisting first responders, providing information about the contents of the train and expertise on responding to railroad incidents," Doolittle said.

*An earlier version is below*

(Hyndman) -- Part of a freight train has derailed in Bedford County causing three cars to burn, as well as a residential garage they struck, prompting an evacuation of people in a  one-mile radius.

County 911 coordinator Harry Corley says six cars on the CSX freight train derailed about 5 a.m. in Hyndman. That's about 100 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

Nobody has been hurt or killed.

Some of the train's cars were filled with flammable liquid asphalt. Corley says it's unclear whether the derailed or burning cars were carrying the asphalt or something else.

CSX spokesman Rob Doolittle confirmed the derailment but couldn't immediately say how many cars derailed, which were burning or how many cars the train had overall.

Doolittle says CSX apologizes for the impact the incident is having on residents and adds the company is working with first responders to protect public safety and CSX personnel. 

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