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Train derails near Roosevelt, emergency response closes SR 14

Report from Washington State Patrol

On Aug. 9, 2006 at approximately 5 P.M., troopers responded to a report of a train derailment about one mile east of Roosevelt (State Route 14 at milepost 135). The initial report indicated there was an unknown vapor cloud over the scene.

Troopers, fire personnel and Burlington Northern Railroad personnel arrived to the scene closing SR 14 just east and west of the scene for precautionary reasons.

Eastbound traffic was detoured back west to SR 97 (Biggs) to utilize I-84 in Oregon to continue east. Westbound traffic was detoured back east to I-82 (Umatilla) to utilize I-84 in Oregon to continue west.

There was no vapor cloud present when emergency personnel arrived.

WSP and Burlington Northern Railroad personnel established a command post with fire personnel.

It was revealed that eastbound Burlington Northern Railroad freight train pulling approximately 76 cars made contact with a stationary westbound Burlington Northern freight train. The impact caused approximately 10 cars from the westbound train to partially derail with their right-side wheels coming off the rail. There were six tanker cars in the middle of the pack of cars suspected of containing Styrene:

Styrene C6H5–CH=CH2, boiling point 145 degrees Centigrade, phenylethene or vinylbenzene. A colorless liquid, which undergoes additional polymerization. to a glassy resin called polystyrene. "Expanded" polystyrene, made porous with trapped gas, is widely used as a thermally-insulating packing material.

The Emergency Response Guidebook shows for public safety:

An immediate precautionary measure, isolate spill or leak area for at least 150 feet in all directions.

Keep unauthorized personnel (Public) away.

Stay upwind.

Keep out of low areas.

Ventilate closed spaces before entering.

At approximately 5:10 p.m., WSP communications advised the Department of Ecology of the incident.

At approximately 6:25 p.m., a hazard material specialist was requested to contact the scene to determine if there was any material that may have spilled or was leaking from the tanker cars.

At approximately 8 p.m., the hazard material specialist arrived and determined the tankers were empty and didn't pose any threat. SR-14 was immediately opened for west and eastbound traffic.

The incident scene was turned over to Burlington Northern Railroad for their investigation.


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