Crews work to clean up after train derailment

BNSF train derailed Sunday at 10:30 p.m.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A BNSF train with 13 cars derailed Sunday night around 10:30 near Sierra Madre Street and Fountain Boulevard.

Seven of the cars tipped over and spilled ammonium sulfate on the tracks.

Fire and hazmat crews said it’s a commonly used fertilizer that doesn’t endanger anyone in the surrounding area.

Even though officials said this train derailment and spill isn’t dangerous for the people surrounding it, some locals that work nearby said it still gives them a bad feeling seeing it happen right outside their door.

“My business partner said, ‘oh my god, there’s a train accident,’ when she arrived this morning and then when she had explained to me what had happened, I said, ‘get out of there now,'” said business owner David Stanley.

Some business owners are a little weary about how safe the ammonium sulfate is.

Hazmat crews insist it poses no danger, but the cleanup process was extensive.

Crews got the train cars off their side, and if they could still run, they were put back on the track and moved. If not, they we dismantled.

Then, it was on to the next phase of the cleanup.

“We’ll use an environmental compliance company to clean up any of the material that was spilled and then as that occurs, they’ll also be inspecting the tracks and doing any necessary repairs to the tracks,” said BNSF representative Joe Sloan.

One local business said this accident is like dodging a bullet.

“We’re very lucky. I mean not so much that it had anything to do with the ammonia, but the fact is, what if some cars had been coming by there,” said Stanley.

BNSF said accidents like this are a rarity.

“Derailments have been decreasing and we look more at the overall miles run as opposed to incidents,” said Sloan.

But one business owner said being so close to the tracks is still worrisome.

“Any of the chemicals that may be transported in the vehicles, it’s just like truck accidents and whatever else. It’s always a concern in the back of my mind,” said Stanley.

BNSF said they’re not sure when the mess will be cleared up, but crews will be out working on it until it’s taken care of.

Some crew members on site said it’s their goal to get at least that section of railway back open by Monday night.

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