Hazardous Materials Cleanup Continues At Site Of McDavid Train Derailment

July 25, 2021

The environmental cleanup is continuing after a train derailment involving hazardous materials last week in McDavid.

Twenty-five cars of a southbound CSX train derailed in a heavily wooded area a mile north of the West Fraser Sawmill about 10:35 p.m. the night of July 19. Several tanker and hopper cars were among those scattered about the tracks during the derailment.

According to the Florida Department of Environment Management, two of the cars were carrying ammonium nitrate and molten sulfur, both hazardous materials.

“None has been released and it remains safely contained within the cars. A small amount of limestone gravel and (nonhazardous) methionine, however, has spilled,” FDEP Press Secretary Alexandra Kuchta told NorthEscambia.com in an email late Friday afternoon.

Three of the cars spilled limestone rock adjacent to the tracks., CSX confirmed to NorthEscambia.com.

“The incident site is currently stabilized and the responsible party will now move forward with the removal of the spilled materials and any necessary assessment and remediation due to the derailment. DEP will continue its stringent oversight to ensure any threats to the environment and human safety are quickly and effectively addressed,” Kuchta said.

The train engine came to a stop behind the sawmill, but 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.

Escambia County interim Public Safety Director Eric Gilmore, who is also the volunteer chief of the McDavid Station of Fire Rescue, was the first to reach the site on foot Monday night. He described the site as a “total pileup” with railcars on top of one another and tracks that were destroyed.

The Escambia Fire Rescue Hazmat team conducted a visual inspection of the derailment Monday night and then utilized monitoring equipment to take air samples and determine that there was no immediate public health threat.

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

There were no injuries reported.

The derailment was just north of the site of a January 28, 2014, derailment during a rare North Escambia ice storm. As much as 30,000 gallons of corrosive acid spilled into Fletcher Creek during that incident, leading to a lengthy environmental cleanup.

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


6 Responses to “Hazardous Materials Cleanup Continues At Site Of McDavid Train Derailment”

  1. William Reynolds on July 28th, 2021 11:30 pm

    “Wonder if there’s any update on this?”

    What you read above is the latest as of late Wednesday night.

  2. William 2 on July 28th, 2021 8:38 pm

    The port will take a blow, I’m sure a few others will also. Wonder if there’s any update on this?

  3. Really? on July 28th, 2021 2:47 pm

    @Howie — Really?? You want to use semi-trucks that don’t have enough drivers to keep up with the supply and demand, just so you don’t have to wait for the train….?please people use your brains.

  4. Howie on July 25th, 2021 10:49 pm

    I agree Optimistic! Folks traveling Hwy 29 at Muscogee Road can enjoy no roadblocks for awhile.

    Use semi-trucks for inbound/outbound freight.

  5. Optimistic on July 25th, 2021 9:51 am

    Less evening roadblocks at Hwy 29, hopefully.

  6. D. T. on July 25th, 2021 8:39 am

    Not knowing all the routes, but this seems like the north/south rail line in and out of Pensacola is out of commission. For a while. What kind of impact, economically, does this have on inbound/outbound freight to the port and other distribution sites?