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Quebec Train Derailment and Crude Oil Fire Video: And Why Is Our 9-1-1 Center Adjacent Railroad Tracks?

Mon July 08 2013 11:07 am
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UDPATE: Additional Raw VIDEO of Inferno after train derailment in the small Quebec town of Lac-Mégantic.

Amateur video shows a massive fire that erupted after oil tanker cars derailed and exploded in a small Quebec town.

The video shows flames and fire in the small town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, as officials say about 80 tankers derailed.

At least five tanker cars exploded in a blast that set dozens of buildings on fire in the center of a lakeside town of 6,000 people in Quebec, close to the U.S. border. At least five people are reported killed and 40 people are missing. Up to 2,000 people were forced from their homes in the lakeside town of Lac-Mégantic.

Fires were burning for more than 24 hours after the derailment of a runaway, driverless train that was carrying petroleum products. The train included 72 cars and five locomotives. Police believe 50 tanker railroad cars caught fire. The train had been parked outside the town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec.

The disaster is another reminder of the risk of having Northwest Central Dispatch — the 9-1-1 center for much of the northwest suburbs — located adjacent to railroad tracks of the Union Pacific Northwest Line.

Northwest Central Dispatch, the 9-1-1 center for eleven police agencies* — Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Inverness, Mount Prospect, Palatine, Prospect Heights, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg and Streamwood — serves a total of almost 500,000 residents. The number of workers and employees and people traveling through the area served by the 9-1-1 center brings the population to an estimated 800,000 to one million people during the day.

If railroad cars in a train derailment near Davis Street were transporting hazardous material or flammable contents, the 9-1-1 center would be at great risk — requiring evacuation. The 9-1-1 center is also close enough (less than half a football field, 43 yards) that it could be consumed by fire and total destruction. At less than 130 feet away from the northeast corner of the NWCDS building is the southernmost track of the Union Pacific railroad northwest line. Also, less than 130 feet away is a railroad bridge. The bridge is similar to the railroad bridge over Shermer Road between Glenview and Northbrook that has been involved in two train derailments in less than three years.

View Larger Map
Northwest Central Dispatch System 9-1-1 center building lower left and railroad bridge right-center (126 feet from northeast corner of 9-1-1 center building).

The two train derailments in Glenview/Northbrook involved a pileup of train cars on or near Shermer Road just south of Willow Road. Fortunately none of the railroad cars carried hazardous materials. Unfortunately, in the second derailment on July 4, 2012, two people were buried alive under piles of coal, railroad coal cars, and collapsed bridge debris.

Fortunately, the Union Pacific railroad line through Arlington Heights does not carry a heavy amount of freight railcars and there are probably less hazardous rail cars on the northwest line compared to other lines in Chicagoland, but there is nothing that prevents dangerous railcars from passing through.

* The Northwest Central Dispatch System 9-1-1 center also serves 10 fire agencies: Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect, Palatine, Palatine Rural, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg and Streamwood.

Big balls of fire and flames destroyed up to 30 buildings.

See also …
The Cardinal New Arlington Heights Police Headquarters Should Combine with 9-1-1 Center Facility Away from Railroad

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