SEWICKLEY (KDKA) – Emergency crews have been at the scene of a train derailment and fire in Sewickley.
According to emergency dispatchers, the incident happened near 26 Chadwick Street shortly before 2 p.m. — just west of downtown Sewickley.
Police said one Norfolk Southern train may have crashed into the back of another.
Wednesday night, crews brought in lights and several pieces of heavy equipment to help clear the tracks that remain partially blocked after the derailment. Officials say the scene could be cleared by as early as Thursday morning.
Norfolk and Southern Vice President Rudy Husband says crews be working all night to reopen the tracks.
At least three engines are involved – two engines were off the tracks and a third was on its side. The train’s cars are believed to be empty.
“What we have is approximately three train engines have left the tracks,” said Alvin Henderson, Dir. of Allegheny County Emergency Management. “Two of those engines, their tanks were on fire. That’s what we had in terms of active fire, fire suppression going on.”
He said one of he trains was carrying empty ethanol tanks. However, a railroad spokesperson says those cars weren’t affected by the derailment.
Although the tanks were empty, officials still had to treat the cars as if they were full as a safety precaution.
However, it will take longer to clean up the diesel spill that occurred when one train rear ended another because of extensive underground fiber cables in the crash area.
Husband says as many as 70 trains travel the three tracks Norfolk and Southern operate in the area, he called it one of the busiest train traffic areas in Norfolk and Southern’s system.
The Burger King and Esmark building nearby were evacuated.
They were relocated to the sewage treatment facility.
People in the neighborhood were said there were a few tense and frightening moments.
Firefighters were using foam to knock down the flames, and Hazmat crews were called to the scene.
Henderson said firefighters were able to quickly knock out the flames.
Officials on scene say two working on the trains were taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries. It’s unclear which train or trains they were on.
Initial reports indicate that one person suffered a concussion and another suffered a broken shoulder.
Several firefighters on scene also had to be treated for the heat and smoke inhalation.
Yesterday, firefighters had to deal with some tricky conditions to battle a CSX train fire in McKeesport.
That incident happened around 2:15 a.m. in a rail yard under the Duquesne-McKeesport Bridge.
The train was hauling ethanol, which could have made the situation even worse. However, CSX said they prepare for situations like this by placing buffer cars between engines and the cars hauling hazardous materials.
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