Third transportation disaster this month underscores US infrastructure crisis
Yesterday afternoon, a 15-car train derailed outside Baltimore, Maryland, causing a massive explosion and damaging several surrounding buildings. This latest incident follows on a commuter train collision in Connecticut on May 17, the collapse of a highway bridge in Washington on May 23, and a train collision and overpass collapse in Missouri on May 25.
In yesterday's accident, a train carrying chemicals reportedly struck a garbage truck and derailed in an industrial area east of Baltimore. The crash caused several of the cars to catch on fire, which later exploded and sent a plume of smoke into the air visible from several miles away. Although no deaths have yet been reported, the driver of the truck struck by the train had been taken to a trauma center at the University of Maryland and was reported to be in serious condition.
Mike Veader, who was standing in the parking lot of a nearby church when the explosion occurred, told the Baltimore Sun that it resembled the one which occurred at the West, Texas fertilizer plant last month: "The ball of fire looked kind of like the one in Texas, the same thing."
One of several videos posted to YouTube appeared to show the train burning for some amount of time before the blast erupted and damaged several surrounding buildings. A hazardous materials crew later responded to the scene, and a half-mile area surrounding the accident was evacuated.