Train Carrying Tens of Thousands of Gallons of Propane Derails - Emergency Response Activated


A train that included two tankers carrying propane derailed Tuesday near Sarasota, Florida, causing a scare that brought out hazmat crews to the scene.

There were no injuries.

However, authorities are left planning the fastest cleanup operation, WTVT-TV in Tampa reported.

The incident occurred in the morning in Manatee County, just north of Sarasota on Florida’s gulf coast.

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Only one of the tankers, which carried 30,000 gallons of propane, overturned in the derailment, according to WTVT.

By noon, no leaks had been reported but officials were monitoring the scene, which is just north of Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.

“We have drones. We run the hazmat team for the county of Manatee and we were in the air with our drone which has thermal capabilities,” Southern Manatee Fire Rescue Chief Robert Bounds told WTVT.

“We were able to look at the tank and ascertain the levels of the tank from the outside, it’ll show up different colors if anything is actually leaking,” Bounds said. “There are no leaks. There are no actual physical damage to the tank other than the rollover, but there is no significant damage to it.”

The second tanker derailed but did not roll over, WWSB-TV in Sarasota reported.

Five cars carrying sheetrock also derailed.

No evacuation orders were issued, but they might be necessary when crews remove the propane from the area, according to WTVT.

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The fuel will have to be siphoned from the overturned car, WFLA-TV in Tampa reported.

“The real potential will be when they come to offload the product that will be when we really have to monitor the situation very closely to make sure there’s no actual leakage,” Bounds told the station.

The cleanup could take days, according to WFLA.

Bounds also told WWSB that a homeless encampment in the area would be monitored for danger from the derailment.

“With the aid of our drone technology, we are able to fly downstream and look on the other side of the tracks and there is a homeless camp over there,” he said, according to the station.

“We aren’t sure how many people. We couldn’t visualize that from the air. We did send [sheriff’s deputies] and some other teams down there to address the people out there and to address the potential danger, and we will monitor them as well in the event we have to evacuate.”

The derailment comes at a time when the nation is particularly sensitive to railroad problems after the disastrous Feb. 3 derailment of a train in East Palestine, Ohio, that has led to an environmental crisis for residents.

Is the safety of our national rail system a serious concern?

Another train derailment that occurred Feb. 16 near Detroit also made national news because of the potential for hazardous material leaks since its cargo included liquid chlorine.

The Florida derailment story was picked up by national news organizations, including USA Today, NBC News and the New York Post.

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.