CENTERVILLE (KDKA) – Clean-up work resumed Wednesday morning after a train crashed into a tanker truck hauling hydrochloric acid in Washington County.
The crash happened around 11 a.m. Tuesday in Centerville, near Fredericktown.
Officials say the CSX train was traveling southbound when it collided with the tanker truck, which was carrying more than 4,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid.
Missing wheels, a crushed front grill and a dented tank is all that remain of the truck. Investigators believe the driver tried to beat the train and failed.
The wreckage has been removed from the tracks and a new railroad crossing sign has been installed. The old sign was taken out in the crash.
Acid started spilling onto the tracks after the crash, which caused several problems. There were 15 homes in the immediate vicinity. Two were unoccupied, and no one was home at several others at the time of the crash.
Everyone else in the area was immediately evacuated as a precaution. They were allowed to return to their homes Tuesday night.
None of the evacuees were hurt; however, a few said they experienced some coughing and throat irritation.
“Hydrochloric acid, so the fumes, the vapors that we’re coming off of it, were pretty strong and pungent,” said neighbor Jack Mowry. “All I could see was this big plume of white vapor coming off the truck.”
East Bethlehem Fire Chief Mark Giovanelli said the whole area has been decontaminated.
“They’re gonna dig everything out. They’ll dig all the railroad ballasts out, any of the affected dirt. Some of the railroad ties I’m sure are gonna have to come out because they’re wood, they’ll absorb the acid,” Washington County Public Safety Director Jeffrey Yates said.
Route 88 in that area was closed following the crash. A Washington County emergency official confirmed early Wednesday morning that the road had reopened.