CSX Train Derails Near McDavid; It’s Not A Public Safety Threat, But Environmental Cleanup To Follow

July 20, 2021

About two dozen cars of CSX train derailed in McDavid Monday night, but there was no reported danger to the public from the train’s cargo.

“We don’t have a public safety concern at this point, but it is going to be an environmental cleanup,” Escambia County interim Public Safety Director Eric Gilmore told NorthEcambia.com shortly before 1 a.m. Tuesday.

The derailment was reported about 10:35 p.m. north of the West Fraser Sawmill in McDavid. The southbound train engine came to a stop behind the sawmill, but the derailment was a mile north in a heavily wooded area about a mile east of Highway 29 (see map below).

A total of 25 cars derailed, including several tanker cars. Gilmore said one of the tanker cars contained molten sulfur, one contained liquid ammonium nitrate and at least two were empty but were previously loaded with molten phenol. Several hopper cars containing lime also derailed. The remainder contained other types of nonhazardous products or were empty.

“Three of the cars spilled some limestone rock adjacent to the tracks. No hazardous materials were released as a result of this incident,” CSX told NorthEscambia.com in an email Tuesday morning.

“The ECFR hazmat team conducted a visual inspection of the derailment and then utilized monitoring equipment to take air samples to determine if there was any immediate threat to public safety, the derailment was determined as a nonimmediate life threat,” Escambia Fire Rescue said in a statement.

“CSX is working closely with Escambia County first responders and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Initial reports indicate there is no public health threat. Crews are on site clearing the tracks of the derailed cars and working to restore the area,” CSX said. “The safety of the community and everyone on site is our top priority as we develop a recovery plan.”

Gilmore described the derailment scene as a “total pileup” with railcars on top of each other and destroyed track. Fire responders, including an Escambia Fire Rescue hazmat team, were able to access the derailment from each end, but not able to reach the middle of the site in the dark.

Due to the remote area of the site with no nearby roads, it took first responders about 45 minutes to locate and reach the area of derailment using a UTV and four-wheel drive vehicles on dirt hunting camp roads.

There were no injuries reported.

CSX said the train was headed from Nashville to Pensacola. The exact cause of the derailment remains under investigation.

Photo for NorthEscambia.com, NorthEscambia.com graphic, click to enlarge.


3 Responses to “CSX Train Derails Near McDavid; It’s Not A Public Safety Threat, But Environmental Cleanup To Follow”

  1. Gregory L on July 22nd, 2021 2:56 pm

    Poor track condition and lack of maintenance is becoming an ever increasing issue with CSX and others in our country, especially as they continue to run more and run faster. It’s an industry that needs a reality check.

  2. Stuart on July 20th, 2021 8:47 am

    That isn’t far from the log jam on the river.

  3. J.Larry Seale on July 20th, 2021 6:58 am

    with all the heavy rain, I guess
    they slip off again……..

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