Clark County 911 caller after train derailment: ‘It happened just as we were pulling up to the stop’

People who contacted dispatchers during Saturday’s train derailment in Clark County said they saw the cars fall off the tracks and overturn into a pile, according to 911 calls obtained by the Springfield News-Sun.

On Saturday, nearly 20 of 212 cars on a Norfolk Southern train derailed on state Route 41 in Springfield Twp., including four tankers carrying non-hazardous materials. Two had residual amounts of diesel exhaust fluid, and the other two had residual amounts of polyacrylamide water solution, according to the rail company.

Although none of the derailed cars carried hazardous material, the train contained other cars with hazardous substances such as liquid propane.

Four callers contacted dispatchers to report Saturday’s derailment.

“The train derailed all over the road,” a caller who witnessed the derailment while sitting in a car near the Aldi distribution center on South Charleston Pike told dispatchers. “It just happened as we were pulling up to the stop. There’s probably a good 20, 30 cars down right now. They’re stacked up pretty high.”

The caller said she did not see any flames coming from the pile of cars, but she did report an odd smell, commenting it could be from metal scraping together.

Another caller who was talking to dispatchers while riding in a car on state Route 41 said the train cars were “completely smashed.”

“All of them are falling off,” she said. “There’s a bunch of them that completely fell off.”

“Stay as far back as you can,” the dispatcher said.

Representatives of the National Transportation Safety Board will be onsite investigating the cause of Saturday’s derailment, the federal agency confirmed.

Train travel resumed Monday, after the final derailed car was cleared from the railway Sunday afternoon.

About the Author