A CSX freight train collided with a tractor-trailor truck Tuesday, May 28, 2013, just east of Baltimore, Maryland, CNN reports. Following the incident, which resulted in the train derailing, an explosion was heard and felt blocks away. According to a Baltimore County police official, who declined being named by the news source, the explosion created a hazardous-materials situation that prompted public safety leaders to evacuate a half-mile area surrounding the site.
The explosion of the cargo train was so powerful that it collapsed nearby buildings and set them on fire, reports Firefighter Nation.
"I couldn't see (the explosion) directly, but it was deafening," Kevin Lindemann, who was working in a nearby Baltimore Windustrial plumbing supply warehouse, told CNN. "It almost forced you to your knees. There were a couple people that were knocked down by it."
The warehouse Lindemann was working in appears to have been damaged by the explosion. He was not the only one who was working in a local business to the crash site that experienced the impact of the eruption.
"The whole building shook and there was just dust everywhere," Tawan Rai, a worker at a nearby Dunkin Donuts, told The Associated Press, according to Firefighter Nation. He continued on to say that no windows broke, but he was surprised by the intensity of the blast. "I went outside and people were rushing there, the police officers, fire trucks."
Despite the ferocity of the explosion, as of 5 p.m. that day, no fatalities were reported. The truck driver was taken to a nearby hospital.
Firefighter Nation reports that this is the third serious train derailment this month. Another happened on May 17 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, when an eastbound commuter train from New York City went off its tracks during evening rush hour and was struck 20 minutes later by a westbound train. The incident injured more than 70 people. In addition, on May 25 a cargo train derailed and collided with another in Rockview, Missouri. This situation destroyed a section of track that could take a year to repair and injured seven people.
Public safety crews like fire fighters are often the first called into a train derailment scene. As these situations keep occurring, departments are realizing that training programs need to incorporate adequate scenario drills for these potential mass casualty or hazardous events.
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