John Kane, treasurer of Atlantic Tire on nearby Pulaski Highway, said the explosion blew out two large showcase windows and light fixtures in his shop. The highway, also called Route 40, is shut down to the Baltimore city line as well as some side streets in area.
The derailment is the third serious one this month. In Bridgeport, Conn., on May 17, more than 70 people were injured when a commuter train derailed. The eastbound train from New York City went off the tracks during evening rush hour, came to a stop and was struck about 20 seconds later by a westbound train.
In Rockview, Mo., on Saturday, a cargo train crash injured seven people and destroyed a highway overpass that could take a year to repair.
Some businesses closed immediately, fearful of the unidentified contents of a heavy plume of black smoke roiling into the atmosphere. At seafood supplier S. DiPaula & Sons Seafood Inc., a good-natured voice left a message on the answering machine afterward that the business was closing early for the day.
“Hello, this is S. DiPaula & Sons Seafood. Today is Tuesday and it’s around 2:30 in the afternoon. We have decided to close due to a large explosion relatively close to our building and a heavy black plume of smoke that we can’t tell what’s in it.”
In each of the past five years, CSX has reported more than 100 deaths in accidents and incidents involving the railroad.
The Federal Railroad Administration says CSX reported 104 deaths in 2012, down from 122 in 2011 and 117 in 2010. The railroad reported 102 deaths in 2009 and 122 in 2008.
The number of derailments on CSX’s network in the eastern United States has been declining steadily since 2008 when it reported 229 derailments. Last year, CSX reported 143 derailments. CSX, based in Jacksonville, Fla., operates over 21,000 miles of track in 23 eastern states and two Canadian provinces.