ROSEDALE, Md. – A freight train smacked into a truck carrying garbage and careened off the tracks in Rosedale on Tuesday afternoon, triggering an explosion felt throughout the region and sending up a plume of black smoke visible for miles.
Authorities identified the driver of the truck as John Alban Jr., a retired Baltimore County firefighter who owns a waste collection company near the scene of the crash. The Essex man was listed in serious condition at Maryland Shock Trauma Center Tuesday night, a hospital spokeswoman said. No other serious injuries were reported.
Officials shut down surrounding roads for several hours, slowing traffic through the region. The roads were reopened by Tuesday night, and a spokeswoman for the State Highway Administration said the morning commute should not be affected.
Michael “Vincent” Brown, the operations manager at a business near the crash site, was sitting in his office at about 2 p.m. Tuesday when it began to “rumble and shake.”
“I screamed at my employees, ‘Everyone get in their cars and get out of here now,’ ” Brown said. “We were on Lake Drive, and I asked if everyone was there, and as soon as I said that, the train blew up. It blew me against my car.”
The two workers aboard the two-locomotive, 45-car train – the engineer and a conductor – were not seriously injured, a spokesman for CSX Corp. said. The spokesman, Gary Sease, said “about a dozen cars” appeared to be involved.
County officials said two rail cars that were carrying chemicals used to make plastic caught fire. Sease said at least one car that might have been involved in the derailment contained sodium chlorate, classified by the U.S. Department of Transportation as a hazardous material.
The crash occurred near an industrial section of Rosedale. Authorities did not order evacuations, but asked residents in 70 homes to the west of the crash site to leave their homes voluntarily and provided rides to shelters, Fire Chief John J. Hohman said.
Sease said four of the cars potentially involved contained terephthalic acid, which is used in the production of plastics. It is not listed by the Department of Transportation as a hazardous material. Sease said another car might have contained traces of the hazardous material fluorosilicic acid.