NEVILLE ISLAND (KDKA) — The Fleming Park Bridge has reopened after four barges broke free from a tow boat on the Ohio River in Neville Island.

The Coast Guard recovered one of the barges which contained 9,000 barrels of hazardous benzene.

“From a hazardous environment for emergency situation that has really deescalated at this point for us,” Allegheny County Emergency Services Director Alvin Henderson said.

Just after 1 p.m., the salvage rescue operation began. A string of barges controlled by four tow boats and a seasoned river pilot reached the red flagged barge.

The drama began around 5 a.m. Wednesday when safety wire securing four barges to a Campbell company tow boat snapped.

A fast current fueled by rain sent the barges down a back channel of the Ohio River. They came to a stop against the piers of the railroad bridge.

According to the Coast Guard, the three other barges contained steel and coal. One of them took on water and one became stuck at the Edgeworth Dam.

Sto-Rox Elementary and Middle School students were evacuated during the emergency.

The barges have been removed from the CSX Railroad Bridge except for the one that is submerged. It may take some time to retrieve the barge that floated to the Edgeworth Dam.

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More Reports By Mary Robb Jackson
U.S. Coast Guard

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