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CSX + Ammonia + Derailment = Bad

Discussion in 'Firefighter/EMS Talk' started by 4095fanatic, Dec 15, 2006.

  1. 4095fanatic


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    Oct 12, 2006
    Sorry if this thread is a bit more aimless than usual; courtesy of a HazMat Alarm last night preceded by two BS wreck I got a grand total of 20 minutes of sleep last night. The night before I may have gotten an hour or two... anyhow. At 3:05 AM I wake up to at least ten sets of tones going off, reports of a CSX car containing ammonia derailed, unknown on leakage. The location of the train is known, but the car the laek occured in is not (it's not uncommon for them to run trains over a mile long). Not only is there a possibility of a leakage, but the derailment area is in a valley. If released, the ammonia would form a vapor heavier than air, thus "creeping" across the land, the 50+ houses, the farms, and the church in the area. We had a bonified Cluster Foxtrot on our hands, if you know what I mean. Thankfully the car was not leaking and we had the situation under control by 9 A.M., but this really reinforced the importance of keeping up to date on your HazMat Ops. It's easy to get lazy on HazMat as not everyone uses it that often, but if the ammonia had escaped the training would have been invaluable.

    Side point: I really wish some people paid more attention in the NIMS courses. While FEMA put out that "mandatory" class, apparently not everyone spent a lot of time actually studying it... It's almost as if all the concepts and terms presented were a foreign language to some of the people.

    Final note: I pointed out the bad to highlight the important lessons learned, but all in all a good incident. No panic, chaos, disorder, etc., and most importantly of all everyone went home. See ya'll on the next big one.
  2. nsb22

    nsb22 TEAM OAF

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    Sep 17, 2003
    From my FD LT the other day, "You hazmat guys are crazy!!!"

    My reply? "Thanks!"

    I'm glad it went well for you. While ammonia isn't the nastiest thing out there, it is still nasty enough, and I wish more people would realize that.

    We have farmers on vollie departments, nothing against vollies as I am one myself, who feel they don't need protection against the ammonia. They've been around anhydrous their whole lives and forget how harmful it can be.