June 28, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Train derails in Spencer


SPENCER — A westbound train derailed at the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway switching station in Spencer on Wednesday morning, rupturing a fuel tank and closing off state Route 162 for most of the day.

Spencer Fire and Rescue Chief Scott Schmoll said a couple cars came off the tracks at about 9:40 a.m. just east of state Route 301, which also was closed for part of the day.

Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway workers clear snow from beneath two train cars that derailed at the switching station in Spencer on Wednesday morning. A fuel tank on one of the train’s two engines ruptured, spilling diesel fuel. State Route 162 was closed for most of the day. (Andrew Dolph | Staff Photographer)

While there were no injuries, Schmoll said the fire department was called at about 10 a.m. when the fuel tank on the train’s second engine ruptured and started leaking diesel fuel. The tank holds about 3,500 gallons.

“It was possibly weather-related, but I don’t know,” he said of the derailment. “We contained the fuel from leaking onto the ground as best we could. It was minimal compared to what it could’ve been.”

Within 15 minutes of the call, Schmoll said the leak was contained with tarps and absorbent materials, and about 200 gallons from what was contained was pumped out.

Representatives from Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway brought a tanker truck to siphon off the rest of the fuel from the second engine, putting some of it into the first engine’s tank and some into the tanker, Schmoll said.

“They called in another train to unhook the (derailed) train cars from the engine so they could open up state Route 162,” he said.

Spencer firefighters and employees from Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway work to contain diesel fuel that spilled from a ruptured fuel tank after a train derailed Wednesday in Spencer. (Andrew Dolph | Staff Photographer)

Representatives from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Public Utilities Commission of Ohio were called in. The state highway patrol and Spencer Police Department helped with closing the road and traffic control, Schmoll said.

“The scene was turned over to the EPA to make sure that everything was cleaned up to their satisfaction,” he said. “PUCO and the rail company are looking into the cause of the accident.”

After they’ve cleaned up the area, they’ll bring in a crane to lift the cars back onto the tracks, Schmoll said.

Shofar may be reached at 330-721-4044 or cshofar@ohio.net.