A collision between a mile-long train and a log-carrying tractor trailer forced a significant detour on South Carolina’s Highway 267. Around 3:30 pm on Monday, the locomotive hit the log truck and dragged it a significant way down the track, causing extraordinary damage.
The train’s engine burst and spilled 2,500 gallons of fuel — the locomotive normally carries 4,500. As of Tuesday morning, the leak was reported as contained and no longer a danger according to emergency response crews and officials.
However, Charleston rescue crews and local firefighters at the scene requested two homes nearest the damaged engine be evacuated as a precaution — the residents obliged. As of Monday, a crane was on route to help extract the truck and the train from the tracks to reopen the crossing.
Concerns about the crash were high, because the train was reportedly carrying dangerous chemicals including cyanide and liquid phosgene. Officials urged people to remain calm, and insisted that the tanks carrying these chemicals were neither damaged nor leaking. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control arrived at the scene shortly after the accident to make sure that no such disaster had occurred.
As mentioned above, a long detour had to be set up to accommodate traffic while the train and truck were being cleared from the site.
This trucking accident serves both as an example of what has happened and what can happen in a serious accident. Shockingly, no one was killed or seriously injured in the collision. Usually tractor-trailer drivers do not survive an impact with a cargo train. However, nearly 3,000 gallons of fuel were spilled, forcing the evacuation of two nearby homes — this spill will require extensive cleanup efforts to make sure residents and wildlife in the area are not harmed in the future. Further, the truck’s collision with the train could very easily have damaged or cracked the tanks containing chemicals even more dangerous than the train’s fuel supply. The story might have read very differently if phosgene or cyanide had been the chemicals spilling toward those two houses.