Railroad officials vandalism could be behind train crash


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Reported by: Farron Salley
Updated: 12/13/2013 7:35 pm Published: 12/13/2013 6:26 am


A spokesman for Burlington Northern railroad said a train derailment in north Tulsa on Friday morning was actually two trains colliding. They think vandalism could have caused the crash.

Officials said just after 1 a.m. Friday two trains traveling west crashed. They said one train was ahead of the other, on the same tracks.

The rear cars of the first train released, and the train that was following slammed into them.

A spokesperson from BNSF said the couplings that hold the cars together can not release themselves. That’s why the Tulsa police and FBI are helping the railroad company with its investigation.

“We also called in the federal bureau of investigation. We believe the coupling device was removed from the train. So right now we’re treating this as an act of vandalism," said Joe Faust of BNSF.

Neighbors reported hearing a loud noise at the time of the crash. 

“Living here you’re used to that train coming every hour you know exactly when they’re going to come through,” said Jeff Brumley. He lives near the train crash.

But Friday morning was different.

“It sounded like a big explosion. So, I came outside and I saw that right there but there was a big cloud of steam coming out, just a big cloud of stuff,” he said.

He saw the aftermath of the crash. And FOX23 cameras were rolling early this morning from the other side of the train tracks.

The locomotive spilled about 100 gallons of diesel fuel. Hazmat and other crews worked to clean the area.

“There’s some diesel fuel that got down into the creek which runs underground quite a ways in through here. City crews have already opened that up, determined how far that is and they’ve stopped it,” said Stan May with the Tulsa Fire Department.

Around the wreckage the faint smell the odor of fuel in the air.

“You see that big cloud of stuff coming out like that, my wife said get back inside, get back inside,” said Brumley.

And away from the crash scene that left this main line paralyzed.

Brumley said says after a scene like this he’s just happy that no one was injured.

Officials said 28 of the train cars were carrying automobiles and none of them will be salvageable. They're also concerned with a 3,000 gallon gas tank that broke open and spilled about 100 gallons in the area. 

Clean up of the entire area could take weeks.

Some of it spilled into a nearby creek and is being contained for cleanup by Hazmat. 

BNSF said there are cameras on all their locomotives and they’re going to be looking for that video to get more clues in this investigation.




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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

2010jayman - 1/4/2014 9:41 PM
0 Votes
BNSF should investigate employees before and after shift change around the derailment. Also think about anybody that has been recently terminated from the company. The train was parked briefly so that gives time for an derailment before the shift change and the train resuming its route. So there can be a possibility that one of the employees or ex-employees that came in or out of the shift change could have removed the coupling device.

Mayor Maynot - 12/15/2013 11:26 AM
0 Votes
Or it could just be equipment failure !!! Air brakes ?? Do they freeze? Do they freeze open or closed?? Just wondering!!

Unwashed Mass - 12/13/2013 2:07 PM
0 Votes
"Tulsa Fire Department Hazmat crews worked to contain a leak that resulted in 100 gallons of diesel fuel spilling into nearby Coal Creek."

Unwashed Mass - 12/13/2013 11:09 AM
1 Vote
The spokesperson is technically correct, the diesel tankers arent a threat while they are not exploding.
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