Train hauling crude oil, propane derails in Vandergrift

02.14.14 | Bob Price

A train hauling crude oil and propane derailed in Vandergrift, Westmoreland County, Thursday morning.
 
More than 21 cars on a Norfolk Southern rail line between Vandergrift and East Vandergrift derailed around 8:30 a.m.   One of the cars torpedoed into the MSI Corporation.
 
“The lights were shaking and everything was going out.  All the lights were going out,” said MSI Corporation employee Greg Shotts.
 
People inside the MSI Corporation building were evacuated.
 
Engineers were sent to examine the structural integrity of the damaged building.
 
“MSI Company has been evacuated due to the one car going into their building. Until the structural integrity of the building is determined to be safe, we will refrain from putting anyone back into that building,” Stevens said. “There’s no evacuation planned as of right now. If an evacuation is to occur, we will let you know as soon as we have that information.”
 
Northfolk Southern estimated thousands of gallons of crude oil leaked from four tank cars.
 
It wasn’t immediately clear what was leaking.
 
“If it’s leaking, we’re kind of screwed because it’s sitting in the middle of town,” said Lorenda Banks.
 
Officials said it could take days to completely clear the area.
 
Norfolk Southern released a statement Thursday afternoon saying, ”A 120-car Norfolk Southern train derailed 21 rail cars at Vandergrift, Pa., about 20 miles NE of Pittsburgh at 8 a.m. today [Thursday].
 
"Nineteen of the derailed cars contained heavy crude oil and two cars contained LPG gas. Four cars were leaking crude oil, but the leaks from each of the cars have been stopped. Norfolk Southern has an environmental team on site with the clean-up of an estimated 3,000-4000 gallons of crude oil.
 
"During the derailment some of the rail cars struck a building which fabricates metal products, and at least one of the cars is in the building.
 
"The train was transporting a variety of products, including Canadian heavy crude oil, LPG, soda ash, and food products. The train originated in Chicago and its final destination was Paulsboro, N.J.”
 
Westmoreland County Emergency Management spokesman Dan Stevens said no injuries were reported.