Another Transportation Disaster: Train Derails Carrying Hazardous Material Near Major City


Residents of a small town outside Detroit, Michigan, are on edge after a train carrying hazardous material derailed Thursday morning causing a potential leak.

The train, which crashed in Van Buren Township, is not thought to be causing any potential environmental issues as of yet, though emergency responders are remaining vigilant.

According to WXYZ-TV, six train cars jettisoned off the track and have caused significant traffic problems in the local area.

Fortunately, the car containing the hazardous material showed no signs leaking, and the public is not thought to be in any danger, according to the local fire department.

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Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell, whose district covers Van Buren Township, released a statement giving an update on the ongoing efforts.

“My team and I have been in touch with Supervisor Kevin McNamara, the Van Buren Fire Department, and other local officials regarding the train derailment in Van Buren Township,” the statement said.

“We are also in touch with the relevant federal authorities, including the EPA. At this time no one is aware of the release of any hazardous materials, the car carrying hazardous material has been put upright and is being removed from the area of the other derailed cars, and EPA is dispatching a team to ensure public safety.”

According to WJBK, no cause for the derailment has been revealed, and no one was injured in the accident.

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The Van Buren Public Safety Department said that “the investigation is active and ongoing, updates will be made to the public as they become available” and that residents should refrain from calling 911 requesting information about the incident.

Officials from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy were also on the scene to investigate the rail car with the hazardous material.

The rail car, filled with liquid chlorine, was luckily far away from the part of the train that derailed, so the soil and local waterways were not contaminated.

It appears that, for now at least, the people of Van Buren have dodged a bullet.

This derailment comes two weeks after the devastating ecological disaster in East Palestine, Ohio, in which toxic materials were released into the air after sections of a train flew off the rails.

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Both the soil and water near the accident are thought to be contaminated by the hazardous material, though environmental officials have tried to downplay the danger.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg commented on the Ohio disaster, providing an update on the situation, WKYC reported.

“I continue to be concerned about the impacts of the Feb 3 train derailment near East Palestine, OH, and the effects on families in the ten days since their lives were upended through no fault of their own. It’s important that families have access to useful & accurate information,” Buttigieg said in  tweet.

“USDOT has been supporting the investigation led by The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Our Federal Rail Administration and Pipelines and Hazardous Materials teams were onsite within hours of the initial incident and continue to be actively engaged.”

Along with these statements, Buttigieg also talked about the potential safety hazards for residents, saying that the EPA was conducting tests for volatile compounds in the area.

After screening 291 homes, the agency has reportedly yet to find any immediate danger.

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