BLADENBORO — Between 200 and 300 residents near downtown Bladenboro were evacuated late in the day Saturday after several cars of a 109-car CSX freight train derailed on a trestle.
The mishap occurred shortly after 3:30 p.m..
According to information from the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office, nine cars were involved in the derailment — four of which were classified as carrying hazardous materials. One of those tanker cars was filled with liquid ammonia used in fertilizer, but was not leaking, and is expected to be emptied into another tanker car sometime this week. The other three tanker cars carrying hazardous materials were emptied at the scene.
The train was en route from Hamlet to Wilmington.
Sheriff’s deputies, Bladenboro Police officers and county rescue personnel went door-to-door urging residents from Village Street to Seaboard Street to evacuate. Most went to stay with friends or family, but between 30 and 40 went to Bladenboro Middle School, which had been set up as an evacuation site.
According to law enforcement officials, the evacuation order was lifted at about 10 p.m. Saturday.
Capt. Rodney Hester with the Sheriff’s Office said the CSX train was crossing a trestle that spanned a swampy area near downtown Bladenboro when the trestle apparently gave way. He said no one was injured in the wreck.
A CSX investigation team was called to the site, as was a hazmat team from Fayetteville Fire Department and North Carolina Emergency Management officials.
If all goes smoothly, CSX officials are hoping the site can be cleaned up and repaired by midweek. Until then, the tracks are closed to freight traffic.