Train derails in Danville Saturday morning

Published 4:20 pm Monday, August 30, 2021

Chemical released with no danger to public

Norfolk Southern Railroad experienced a derailment near the end of Walnut Street in Danville early Saturday morning.

According to Mike Wilder, Boyle County Emergency Management Director, the incident took place shortly before 7 a.m. Saturday. Wilder said six cars got off the track, although none of them turned over. He said five of the rail cars were carrying automobiles, and another contained a chemical known as calcium carbide residue.

“A small amount was released into the atmosphere and caught fire, but it burned itself out,” Wilder said of the chemical. “It’s an oxidizer, which means that when it got into the atmosphere, rather than do anything hazardous, it went ahead and burned itself out, which was a good thing. The fire was extinguished with no injuries sustained, and no release of any materials at all from that. Therefore, no evacuation was required.”

Wilder said Danville Fire Department officials were on the scene approximately 8 hours Saturday. He added that Norfolk Southern is investigating the incident, but no cause is known at this time.

“Our first responders and all of us in emergency services fear a derailment down there. Our worst fear is a derailment of some hazardous material that is released into the atmosphere and an immense amount of evacuation being required, especially with Centre in session and the other schools in the area,” Wilder said. He added that a derailment of some chemicals could force an evacuation of people within a half mile to a mile of the vicinity.

“Danville Fire Department handled it beautifully as usual,” he added.

Attempts to reach Norfolk Southern for comment were unsuccessful as of press time.