Highway 84 in Screven back open after CSX clears train derailment

A 7 car train derailment is under investigation in Screven.
A 7 car train derailment is under investigation in Screven.(Lewis Levine)
Updated: Jun. 6, 2020 at 11:35 PM EDT
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WAYNE COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Highway 84 in Screven is back open after seven cars of a train derailed on Saturday.

CSX conducted an investigation into the derailment and finished cleanup efforts on Sunday afternoon.

The derailment happened on Highway 84 near the Screven City Hall in Wayne County just after midnight Saturday. The train was carrying more than 200 cars. Two of those cars were carrying hydrogen peroxide.

“I get up here to see a train derailed in the city and you start thinking about things," said Mayor Jason Weaver. "You gotta think about waterways, you gotta think about what was in the tank, you gotta think about citizens.”

Director of Wayne County Emergency Management Richard Johnson says about 100 people had to be evacuated from the surrounding area as a precaution due to the leaking fuel.

Contaminated dirt and water were collected and placed into containers, with new dirt replacing the gaps.

The Parker’s say they got a knock on their door from police at 3 a.m.

“Gosh, we never had anything like that happen before,” said Jerry Parker.

Local first responders and the CSX emergency team worked throughout the night and for the majority of the day fixing parts of the track and removing the derailed cars.

The tracks run parallel to Highway 84. Residents say they’ll drive along the tracks with more caution from now on.

“Well, now I’ll always think about it when I’m going across the railroad tracks and a train is coming by," said Parker. "I’m not going to get too close because it could happen again.”

The mayor says this incident affected the city in many ways.

“Big financial impact for our city," said Weaver. "Our businesses that are open today, there’s no traffic other than these guys that are out here working going in and getting a coke.”

According to Director Johnson, 11,000 gallons of hydrogen peroxide spilled and has since been cleaned up. The EPA, as well as various other agencies, have been on-site to ensure no hazards remained. They tested the water to make sure it was not contaminated. He says 270,000 gallons of water was used to dilute the chemical and the contaminated areas that were dug up will be disposed of properly. CSX says all seven cars will be scrapped.

“CSX is here with their investigators and reviewing computer tapes," says Johnson. "We pulled some local tapes off some of the businesses here, security cameras, to help them do their investigation, so they haven’t given a definite cause.”

CSX is continuing to investigate the derailment.

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