Four rail tanker cars derailed Thursday morning in a remote section of Windham area and local officials say they are not thrilled with how the situation was handled.
They were not notified until about 7:30 a.m., three and a half hours after the train cars went off the track. At least one of the four cars carries liquid ethanol, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.
"Because the railroad felt there was no need for the fire apparatus because there was no leak involved, so right now were just standing here … just in case. How were they sure there was no leak? I'm not sure,” Chief John Capman of the Windham Fire Department, said. “Train representatives are up there now with DEP.”
The railroad should have notified one of the offices from one of the local towns, he said.
An 80-car train was traveling on the Providence Worcester Railroad along Route 203 from the Midwest to Providence around 4 a,m. on Thursday morning when cars toward the back of the train went off the tracks near Pleasant Street, officials from the railroad company and DEP said.
Three cars went off the tracks and landed on their side down an embankment. A fourth car derailed but remained upright, according to Dennis Schain, communications director for the state DEP. Nothing has leaked from the cars, Schain said.
All four cars have a 30,000 gallon capacity, Schain said. Crews worked through the night to remove 100,000 gallons of ethanol. By 4 a.m., the trains had been removed from the tracks.
Because the cars were at the back of the train, they were detached from the front of the train and the remaining cars were able to continue the journey. Five cars were behind the derailed cars and remained on the tracks. What caused the derailment is not known.