Twenty-one cars of a freight train hauling oil and gas derailed this morning in Vandergrift, striking a building that houses a specialty metals firm, authorities said. No one was injured.
Hazmat crews responded to MSI Corp. in the 200 block of First Street in Vandergrift, and the state Department of Environmental Protection was sending a three-member emergency response team after reports that oil was leaking from overturned cars.
The 120-car Norfolk Southern Railway train with three locomotives was headed east around 8 a.m. when it derailed. Nineteen of the 21 derailed cars overturned.
Norfolk Southern spokesman Dave Pidgeon said 19 of the derailed cars were carrying a type of crude oil that is thick enough to be lifted with a shovel. An undetermined amount leaked from three cars but was contained before it entered any water source, he said. The leaks were stopped. Two other derailed cars had liquid propane.
Witnesses said cars slammed into the MSI Corp. building, demolishing equipment used to mill steel blocks down to customer specifications. Employees of the business said they heard a tremendous crash and speculated right away that a train had derailed outside.
Westmoreland County public safety spokesman Dan Stevens said some people were evacuated from MSI, and engineers would be sent to examine the structural integrity of the building.
State Department of Environmental Protection spokesman John Poister said as a precaution, DEP notified water companies with intakes downstream of the incident scene along the Kiskiminetas River, but there were no indications of oil entering the river as of mid-morning.
Mr. Pidgeon said the railroad would investigate the cause of the crash. "We will look at all human and non-human factors," he said.
Jon Schmitz: email@example.com, 412-263-1868 and on Twitter @pgtraffic. First Published February 13, 2014 8:24 AM