A recent collision at a railroad crossing between a train and a tractor-trailer in Cameron, Texas, sent a huge fireball and giant cloud of thick black smoke into the sky (Massive fireball after train, 18-wheeler collision burns down barn, leaves several families’ homes heat-damaged).
The incident could have caused far greater damage had the fire reached any of the train cars transporting hazardous material. “There were some hazardous materials a little farther back, so by the grace of God we were saved on that one,” said Milam County Sheriff Chris White.
Ten of the BNSF Railway cars were hauling coke coal, plastic pellets, gasoline, and fiberglass. Despite the strong possibility of contamination, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality did not detect any volatile or organic compounds in the air or nearby bodies of water.
Approximately 13 of the 110 railway cars derailed, five of which contained gasoline that exploded and caught fire. “It sounded like a tanker, like a pressure cooker, like ‘psh ka-boom!’” said Mark Tyhusrt, who lives near the train tracks. “Big giant flames at least 100 feet in the air.”
Data collected in a federal railroad crossing report indicates that there have been four collisions at the crossing since 1984, the last two both in 2016. A train crashed into a tractor-trailer that had stalled on the tracks on May 18, 2016, and less than two months later on July 2, 2016, a train struck a pickup truck.
The explosion caused a nearby house to burn down, but fortunately no one was injured. Still, it is only a matter of time before there is another collision occurs at the crossing. Despite multiple incidents, the railroad has refused to take additional steps to make sure the crossing is safe, particularly for trains carrying hazardous materials. As is usually the case, the railroad has refused to act despite multiple tragedies at the crossing.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a railroad crossing collision, it is crucial that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney. Please call DBJ today at 1-800-875-5972 for a free consultation.