A train containing hazardous materials derailed early on Monday morning near Splendora, Texas, less than two weeks after a Norfolk Southern train in East Palestine, Ohio, derailed and spilled industrial chemicals.
A semi-truck crashed with a Union Pacific train near the intersection of Highway 59 and Midline Road, according to a report from Houston Public Media, causing 21 train cars to derail. Splendora Police Department officials said in a social media statement that the truck driver was deceased when first responders arrived on the scene.
Union Pacific spokesperson Robynn Tysver confirmed with The Daily Wire that the company sent a hazardous material crew to examine the crashed train, which was carrying chemical products intended for retail. Although the train spilled 100 gallons of diesel fuel, none of the chemical substances were released. The derailment, in which no train crew members were injured, is presently under investigation.
“The train was hauling household chemicals, including paint and aerosol cans. There were no releases,” Tysver said. “Railroads are required by federal law to transport the chemicals and other hazardous commodities that our customers produce and Americans use daily, including fertilizer, ethanol, crude oil, and chlorine. Railroads are the safest mode of transportation.”
Splendora Police Department officials said in another statement that Midline Road would be reopened for residents on Tuesday morning, while Highway 59 would remain closed as authorities repair tracks, clean the roadway, and remove rail cars.
The incident in Texas follows another derailment in Ohio, where a malfunctioning axle on a Norfolk Southern train caused the vehicle to derail and leak volatile chemicals. Local and state authorities evacuated all residents within one mile of the February 3 crash and started a controlled burn of the chemicals to decrease the risk of an explosion. Vinyl chloride, a carcinogen that can contaminate water supplies, was released from five train cars in the form of massive plumes of dark smoke visible throughout eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania.
Emergency personnel and citizens who did not evacuate are experiencing symptoms such as sore throats, coughing, headaches, and diarrhea in the days after the controlled burn, according to one first responder interviewed by The Daily Wire on Tuesday.
Democratic and Republican lawmakers have expressed concern over the Ohio derailment and have called for investigations. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who was criticized for not responding to the incident for more than a week, confirmed in a Monday evening statement that the National Transportation Safety Board is examining the crash. He added that his agency will “use all relevant authorities to ensure accountability and continue to support safety.”
Beyond the release of vinyl chloride, Norfolk Southern warned the EPA that a number of other volatile industrial chemicals were released at the derailment site. One train car containing ethylene glycol monobutyl ether currently has an “unknown status,” according to Norfolk Southern, while the amount of ethylhexyl acrylate in another car is still “pending.”
Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) called for long-term studies of the disaster after noting a “troubling trend of catastrophic infrastructure problems in our country, and more than a few reports of sabotage.” The lawmaker said in a statement that he has “heard alarming anecdotes about contaminated waterways and effects on wildlife.”