Investigation Ongoing in Bartow, Georgia, Train Derailment
BARTOW, GA. – According to an online news story posted at augustachronicle.com, the investigation into a January 6, 2019 train derailment in Bartow, Georgia, is ongoing and could take several more weeks to conclude. The investigation also might be hampered by the federal government shutdown.*
At about 8 p.m. on January 6, a train traveling from Macon, Georgia, to Augusta, Georgia, derailed in Jefferson County, Georgia, near Bartow. A total of 37 cars on the Norfolk Southern train derailed, and two were breached. The crash caused hydrogen peroxide to spill from the cars, creating a potential health hazard for people in the area.
About 500 homes were evacuated, according to reports. Three Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies and one firefighter who responded to the scene experienced respiratory issues and were hospitalized. In addition, two more deputies were admitted to a burn unit in Augusta.
The evacuation order has now been lifted, but it is not clear when the cleanup will be complete or when the investigation will be finalized. The Federal Railroad Administration is currently investigating the crash, along with Norfolk Southern. However, the National Transportation Safety Board might also need to conduct an investigation.
NTSB’s involvement is up in the air right now, as the agency is affected by the federal government shutdown. NTSB workers have been furloughed, and the agency is not responding to new inquiries until the government reopens. It is not clear when that will occur.
Remarkably, the crash in Bartow occurred exactly 14 years after an extremely similar train crash took place in South Carolina on January 6, 2005. This train was also owned by Norfolk Southern and a chemical spill resulted from numerous cars becoming derailed.
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