While the Norfolk Southern train derailment in Palestine, Ohio not only erupted into a massive and dangerous fire and chemical leak, it resulted in a political fireball too.
Residents of towns and cities with rail tracks passing through are wondering….can it happen here?
Consider the tankers that travel through Oklahoma on a daily basis from the northern part of the state right through the heart of Oklahoma City—trains carrying crude oil and other chemicals over I-44 near the I-235 interchange where a new trestle had to be installed.
The answer is an obvious yes. Train derailments happen every year in Oklahoma and one, involving a spill of more than 19,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid is cited in a report by The Hill which discussed the potential dangers that exist.
Just consider a recent list of train derailments in Oklahoma. On Feb. 10, a train derailed during a winter storm south of Norman. Four cars of a train derailed in the town of Wayne but hazard crews were not called to the scene and no injuries were reported.
In mid-January, a BNSF train derailed in west Tulsa. The derailment involved a locomotive and seven cars. No one was injured.
In November of 2022, a train derailment occurred on main street in the southern city of Davis. No one was injured.
Thirteen cars of a BNSF coal train derailed last August near Boise City in the Panhandle and blocked a state highway for several hours. Again, no one was injured.
In December of 2021, winds estimated at 50 mph and stronger blew 21 BNSC cars off the tracks near Enid. No injuries were reported.
Dangerous chemicals leaked from a train derailment that occurred in June 2020 in Wynnewood, resulting in the evacuation of dozens of residents. The early-morning derailment of 11 cars involved a BNSF train. The leaking chemical was sodium hydrosulfide, a toxic and potentially combustible material.