CALHOUN COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Dozens of cars on a Norfolk Southern train derailed in Calhoun County early Thursday morning.
Cleanup of the wreck was paused Thursday afternoon while the National Transportation Safety Board investigates. The cleanup is scheduled to pick up again Friday morning.
The Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office, the county’s emergency management agency and the Oxford Fire Department set up command units in the parking lot of Iron City United Methodist Church, down the road from where the derailment happened.
“[Thursday] morning, we were working with Quad City Fire Department and Oxford Fire Department on the response side of it, and then through the day, we’ve been working with Norfolk Southern,” said Myles Chamblee, Calhoun County EMA director. “It’s their train, so working with Norfolk Southern to help them in the recovery process of it.”
The Calhoun County EMA said 35-37 train cars came off the tracks. While not all of them were empty, none were carrying hazardous materials. The EMA said there were no injuries, fires or road blockages caused by the train derailment. Chamblee said he wasn’t sure if any people were impacted by the wreck.
“Of course, it’s been in the news recently with the train derailments, so we’ve done a lot of training just internally at our office on what we would do if there’s a train derailment,” Chamblee said. “So fortunately, unfortunately, we did that training and now able to put that into action.”
Because the train derailed in a wooded area only accessible from narrow roads, crews said there were some traffic issues Thursday while getting the heavy equipment back to the scene.
“We’ve just been supporting and coordinating the response, so connecting Norfolk Southern with the responders and making sure the responders have what they need [Thursday] morning on the initial call,” Chamblee said. “The Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office is providing security for them throughout the event, so we’re just trying to connect the dots and make sure they have everything they need.”