Cleanup begins after freight train derailment, fire in Maine
Apr 16, 2023, 9:58 AM | Updated: 1:56 pm
SANDWICH ACADEMY GRANT TOWNSHIP, Maine (AP) — Railway owner Canadian Pacific Kansas City is leading cleanup and track repairs following a freight train derailment and fire in Maine that sent three railway workers to the hospital for treatment, officials said Sunday.
The three workers were treated and released Saturday after three locomotive engines and six train cars carrying lumber and electrical wiring went off the track in Somerset County, officials said.
The locomotives and four derailed lumber cars caught fire. Two derailed cars carrying the flammable liquids ethanol and pentamethylheptane, both classified as hazardous materials, escaped the fire and no chemicals spilled, said C. Doniele Carlson, spokesperson for Canadian Pacific Kansas City.
Canadian Pacific Kansas City, created by a merger of Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern that was completed Friday, is leading cleanup, salvage and repair, working with state agencies and local fire and rescue, said Jim Britt from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. Workers were removing derailed locomotives and rail cars, cleaning up crash debris and repairing the rail line. It was unclear how long the process would take.
Derailments and railroad safety have been a growing concern nationwide since the fiery Feb. 3 Norfolk Southern derailment outside East Palestine, Ohio, that forced evacuations and created lingering health concerns because of the chemicals released.
Maine officials said Sunday there was no public threat and no evacuations.
The railway and the state blamed the derailment on a washout. But the Federal Railroad Administration, which sent an inspector to the site, suggested it will be weeks before full details of the accident are released.
People were urged to stay away as work continued. The derailment happened near Rockwood, a town of about 300 people on Moosehead Lake, about 90 miles (140 kilometers) northwest of Bangor.