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Videos: New train derailment in NE, hazmat responds; 5th this month at least

An Airman listens to a brief during hazardous material training at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, March 25, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob T. Stephens)
February 21, 2023

Dozens of train cars derailed in central Nebraska early on Tuesday, triggering a hazmat response as the toxic aftermath of another derailment in Ohio continues to unfold.

In a statement to Fox News, Union Pacific Railroad said about 31 train cars carrying coal derailed near the town of Gothenburg, Nebraska around 1:45 a.m. local time.

“No one was injured,” the company stated. “Cleanup has begun, with heavy equipment on site.”

The cause of the derailment is now being investigated. One of three mainline tracks near the site was reopened to traffic around 8 a.m., Union Pacific stated.

Footage taken by local news outlet KNOP, shared on social media, appeared to show vehicles and crews from Haz-Mat Response on the train derailment scene.

Other footage highlighted the twisted, hulking mass of derailed train cars along the track.

This latest incident follows the derailment of a Norfolk Southern train in East Palestine, Ohio earlier this month. That situation resulted in the deliberate burning of vinyl chloride in some of the derailed cars, which officials feared were about to explode.

The burning sent a huge plume of black smoke over the town and ignited ongoing concerns for the health of people and animals in the area. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Monday that he would make his first visit to the town “when the time is right,” CNN reported.

Since then, other train derailments have made headlines: a train carrying hazardous materials went off the tracks in Michigan, and there have been at least two others in Splendora, Texas and Enoree, South Carolina.

Federal data shows that derailments, the most common type of train accident, occur on average more than 1,000 times per year, the Poynter Institute reported.

In the past 10 years, about 10 to 20 train derailments a year have involved the release of hazardous materials, according to Allan Zarembski, director of the Railway Engineering and Safety Program at University of Delaware.

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