Norfolk Southern freight train derails in Clark County, Ohio, prompting shelter-in-place order ‘out of abundance of caution’

Norfolk Southern freight train derails in Clark County, Ohio, prompting shelter-in-place order ‘out of abundance of caution’


A Norfolk Southern freight train derailed in the Springfield, Ohio, area Saturday afternoon, prompting a shelter-in-place order for nearby residents – just one month after the company’s toxic train wreck on the other side of the state in East Palestine.

No injuries were reported Saturday and there was no hazmat situation at the crash site in Clark County, an Ohio State Highway Patrol spokesperson told CNN. The derailment happened around 5 p.m. ET and the road was closed on State Route 41, the spokesperson added.

Twenty cars of the 212-car Norfolk Southern train derailed while headed south in the Springfield area, Norfolk Southern spokesperson Connor Spielmaker told CNN.

“No hazardous materials are involved and there have been no reported injuries,” Spielmaker said. “Our teams are enroute to the site to begin cleanup operations.”

The company is working to find out what the train was transporting, Spielmaker added, confirming it was not a passenger train.

The Clark County Emergency Management Agency asked residents Saturday who were within 1,000 feet of the train derailment “to shelter-in-place out of an abundance of caution.”

A Norfolk Southern freight train derailed in Springfield, Ohio, on Saturday, March 4, 2023.

“We ask that all residents in need of travel to Ohio 41 find alternate routes. Local and state officials are on scene, including the Springfield Fire Rescue Division and the Springfield Police Department,” the agency said in a Facebook update.

Clark County officials also said they were aware of power outages in the area due to downed power lines.

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said he has been briefed on the derailment and is sending Federal Railroad Administration officials to the scene.

“I have been briefed by FRA leadership and spoke with Gov. DeWine to offer our support after the derailment today in Clark County, Ohio. No hazardous material release has been reported, but we will continue to monitor closely and FRA personnel are en route,” Buttigieg said in a tweet on Saturday.

The derailment comes as crews were still working to clear the toxic wreck of another Norfolk Southern train that derailed on February 3 while carrying hazardous materials more than 200 miles away in East Palestine, Ohio.

The East Palestine derailment fueled outcry among residents who have complained of symptoms, including headaches and coughing after the fiery crash. The train was hauling dangerous chemical vinyl chloride – which was released and burned to prevent a potentially deadly explosion – and other chemicals that are feared to have leaked into the surrounding ecosystem.

Norfolk Southern has promised to fully clean up the wreck and vowed to invest in East Palestine.

The derailment has put rail safety under the spotlight and raised questions about regulations surrounding the transport of hazardous materials. Data from the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis shows there have been at least 1,000 derailments in the United States each year during the past decade.

CNN’s Aaron Pellish, Polo Sandoval and Isa Kaufman-Geballe contributed report.


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