Bartow, GA, Trail Derailment Feels Frighteningly Familiar to Residents
BARTOW, GA. – As reported online by wrdw.com, a January 6 train derailment in Bartow, Georgia, felt extremely familiar to residents. The incident occurred 14 years to the day from a train accident in South Carolina that caused numerous fatalities and injuries.*
On January 6, 2005, a Norfolk Southern train came to an open switch and slammed into a parked train on a set of tracks in Graniteville, South Carolina. The train was carrying more than 160,000 pounds of chlorine, which spilled upon derailment of 16 cars, creating a cloud of the hazardous chemical over the area. The train derailment and chlorine spill caused nine people’s deaths and injured hundreds.
“It was green, sparkly,” Graniteville resident Josephine Hall recalled of the 2005 incident. “Like a haze. You couldn’t breathe. Your eyes were burning, your nose, everything. It was a painful, painful day.”
More than 5,000 people were evacuated from the town after the spill, and 550 people were hospitalized. Exactly 14 years later, on January 6, 2019, officials in Bartow thought they might have the same situation on their hands.
Thirty-nine cars on a Norfolk Southern train derailed that evening in Bartow, spilling a chemical onto the crash site. With familiar fear, residents of the town evacuated Sunday night and into the following morning. While they first believed it might be chlorine, officials confirmed during the preliminary investigation that the chemical spilled in Bartow was hydrogen peroxide.
The health effects of this spill are not yet known, and the cause of the incident is still under investigation. However, knowledge of the devastation caused by the collision and spill 14 years prior caused officials to act quickly to protect residents of Bartow.
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