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Another train derails with hazardous materials in MI

A fire engine. (Dreamstime/TNS)
February 16, 2023

A train carrying hazardous materials went off the tracks near Detroit, Michigan on Wednesday, with questions still swirling around the huge chemical burn-off that resulted from another train derailment in Ohio earlier this month.

At least six train cars went off the track near Van Buren Charter Township, one of which was carrying hazardous materials, local news outlet WXYZ reported

No train cars carrying hazardous materials “were compromised,” and there is no evidence that any hazardous materials were “exposed,” according to the township’s public safety department. No injuries were reported.

“The car carrying hazardous material has been put upright and is being removed from the area of the other derailed cars, and EPA is dispatching a team to ensure public safety,” Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) said in a statement. 

“We will continue to monitor the situation very closely and remain in touch with federal, state, and local officials, and release additional information as it becomes available,” she added.

The public safety department asked people to avoid a roughly mile-and-a-half-long stretch of Huron River Drive, a residential area wedged between the train tracks and Belleville Lake. 

The incident came on the heels of a large-scale derailment one state to the south near East Palestine, Ohio. 

In that case, 10 of the 50 derailed cars contained hazardous chemicals, which officials soon came to fear would explode. To prevent that from happening, cancer-causing vinyl chloride in five of the cars was deliberately burned on Feb. 6, sending a huge plume of flames and black smoke over the town.

The full extent of any environmental or individual health impacts is unclear amid anecdotal reports of animals falling ill and the state estimating that 3,500 fish were killed across more than seven miles of streams. 

The Environmental Protection Agency said it has screened 486 East Palestine homes so far without noting any detections of vinyl chloride or related chemicals. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has declared the municipal water safe to drink.

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.