Train derailments can lead to dangerous fires and explosions under the best of circumstances; this can be especially true when the trains are hauling tanker cars that contain combustible substances like gas or oil. This is one concern that has reportedly been on the mind of the St. Louis City’s Fire Chief, who fears that his department might not be properly equipped to handle a major fuel fire should one of the many trains hauling gas and oil tankers derail in the city. One recent report indicated that up to 100 tanker cars of crude oil are transported through the St. Louis area via trains on a regular basis. A train derailment could easily lead to a dangerous fire and explosion—and put lives in danger.
The Chief’s concerns seem to be echoed by a federal report issued by the Department of Transportation. Chief Dennis Jenkerson believes that there is much room for safety improvement on the part of the railroad industry when it comes to carrying crude oil and other such materials. One area of improvement that could greatly help would be physically strengthening the tanker cars used to carry the oil and gas across the country.
One reason for the Chief’s worries is the type of explosion that happened in mid-February in West Virginia. That derailment led to volatile explosions that caused nearby residences to be evacuated by firefighters. Although nobody lost their lives in that explosion, several buildings in the area were destroyed in the explosion and fire. Such a catastrophic event could be much more deadly in a highly populated area like St. Louis City.
Fire Chief Jenkerson is pushing for railroads to stockpile more equipment and foam used to fight fuel fires in St. Louis. He feels this would greatly help his department’s ability to effectively fight any future fires that might erupt due to train derailments. Other improvements the Chief wants to see include upgraded tanker cars, shortening the length of the trains that carry dangerous materials through St. Louis, and notifying emergency workers like first responders when such trains are scheduled to pass through the area.
Regardless of any future improvements, it seems inevitable that train derailments will lead to fires and explosions in Missouri and Illinois. If you or someone you love has been injured due to a train derailment resulting in a fire or explosion, please contact us right away at 1-888-586-7041 in order to schedule a free meeting to find out more about your legal rights. Those who are injured due to the negligence of other parties deserve to fight for their just financial compensation. Our St. Louis personal injury law firm stands ready to help you obtain the restitution that you deserve.
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