Train carrying ethanol derails, catches fire in Fort Worth
FORT WORTH, Texas - Parts of a train carrying a dangerous liquid derailed and caught fire early Wednesday morning in Fort Worth.
Fort Worth fire officials said it happened sometime before 1 a.m. southwest of Interstate 35W and East Berry St., near Echo Lake.
Clean up was still underway Wednesday afternoon following the derailment and fire that sent families rushing out of their homes.
About two dozen Union Pacific railroad tankers that contained ethanol went off the tracks and several burst into flames.
No employees on the train were injured. However, the woman who owns a barn next to the tracks said three of her horses died when the barn also caught fire. Seven others were saved.
The Castillo family ranch took the brunt of the impact.
"It was around 11 p.m. or 12 a.m. when we heard the explosion and we came outside. The first thing we see is our stables on fire," Adrian Castillo said. "We were able to save seven horses out of ten, so we lost three horses."
Hazmat crews were called out to monitor the air quality and because some of the gas was seen leaking out of at least one tanker car. People who live in a rural neighborhood nearby were evacuated as a precaution.
"Typically when we have large volumes of fuel like that we'll let that fuel burn off that's the best way to deal with it," Fort Worth Fire Department spokesman Kyle Clay said.
Fire officials said the flames are under control, but they were at the scene throughout the day to make sure everything was safe.
"Right now we're monitoring air quality. We want to make sure that there's not going to be any respiratory issues with anybody. If they are in an evacuation zone, that we take care of them and then just making sure that they're a safe distance away from the emergency," said Mike Drivdahl with the Fort Worth Fire Department.
Daybreak gave a closer look at the 34,000 gallon tanks that were leaking ethanol.
As for the landowners impacted, they realize things could've ended much worse.
"My father built this with his bare hands and now everything is just gone within minutes and we have so many memories here," said Marisol Hererra.
"We're just going to take it one day at a time. Clean up the property and see where we go from there," Castillo added.
The cause of the derailment is still under investigation. Fire officials said they're not sure if the weather played any role.
A separate incident also resulted in a fire nearby. A Fort Worth FD command vehicle at the scene of the derailment came in contact with a high power line. Three firefighters inside at the time got out safely.
A construction crew was brought in to help clean things up.