Page:NTSB - Railroad Accident Report - Derailment on May 25, 1989.djvu/24

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off gas lines to the houses that were damaged in the derailment. According to one of the gas company employees, there were no fires associated with the spilled fuel oil or the broken gas lines.

Emergency Response to Train Derailment

The San Bernardino County’s 911 emergency number was called about 7:41 a.m. by a resident who reported that a train was off the tracks and into some houses.

The San Bernardino battalion chief’s unit was the first fire department unit to arrive at the derailment side about 7:48 a.m. The battalion chief stated that in addition to observing the derailed freight train and damaged houses, he noted that a white powdery substance that had been dumped by the train when it derailed was piled over the entire wreckage site. He stated further that he requested a hazardous materials unit to respond to the scene because of the unknown product being carried by the train, the leaking diesel fuel from the overturned locomotives—even though there was no evidence of fire—and the possibility of pipeline involvement.[1] The battalion chief stated that he was aware that a pipeline was in the area of the derailment but was uncertain of its location at that time.

Police units began arriving also about 7:48 a.m. and began setting up road blocks, evacuating occupied houses, and handling crowd control. An estimated 63 persons were ultimately evacuated from 27 houses in the immediate area of the derailment. As other fire companies arrived, they were placed in strategic locations around the accident site. About 7:55 a.m., fire department personnel began a house-to-house search for survivors. About 11 houses had been impacted by the derailing train. At that time, a canvass of the neighborhood and residents found that no one was reported as missing. About 8:01 a.m., however, a parent reported that two children who resided at 2348 Duffy Street were missing. A second search began and about 8:25 a.m., the first child was found dead; about 10:15 a.m., the second child was also found dead.

Meanwhile, about 8:05 a.m., the San Bernardino deputy fire chief arrived on scene, was advised of the situation by the battalion chief, and then assumed control of the emergency as incident commander. He stated that he approached representatives of Calnev and SP, who had arrived on scene between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., and informed them that he was the incident commander in charge. He stated further that by the time he had arrived, the city’s joint response and mutual aid plan had been implemented as a result of the battalion chief’s initial request for additional assistance. The incident commander subsequently established a command post at the corner of Donald and Duffy Streets. The deputy fire chief testified that all subsequent actions by Calnev and SP were coordinated with him. He further testified that because the product that was scattered over the derailment side had been transported in open top hopper cars, he did not believe it was a "serious

  1. A 14-inch liquid petroleum pipeline, operated by Calnev Pipe Line Company, was buried in the SP’s right-of-way.