Mulvane Emergency Services
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Fatality Train Derailment
September 4th, 2002
A Sumner County motor grader operator who was working a county road was struck and killed when he apparently backed into a Rail Road crossing in front of an oncoming B.N.S.F. train. Two B.N.S.F. train crew members were treated and released at the scene.
Capt. Duane Brill and Chief Judi Patterson at the back of the rehab ambulance
Five locomotives and 7 rail cars were derailed. Five railcars were empty grain hoppers and three were empty tank cars. The tank cars posed a possible threat because they contained vapors of a previous flammable liquid, with a flash point of 100 degrees.
B.N.S.F. officials requested we remain onscene until the locomotives and tank cars were up righted.
The locomotive had just fueled and was carrying 2,300 gallons of Diesel fuel. The lead locomotive was laid over on it's side and had ruptured a 4" overflow line. Several attempts were make to plug the leak with no success. The City of Udall assisted with a load of sand to temporarily dyke the fuel until a private contractor with a dozer was brought in to build a dirt berm in the ditch. The lead locomotives exterior was also covered in Diesel fuel from the impact with the motor grader. The motor grader had a plastic fuel tank, which had just been filled. The diesel fuel tank was almost dead center at the point of impact. We were very lucky that the locomotive did not catch fire upon impact. A grass fire did result at the point of impact and was quickly extinguished by Cowley County Fire Dist. #4 from Udall, who was called for Mutual Aid.
Due to the extended scene time and temperatures soaring into the upper 90's, our command bus was set up along with an ambulance to provide an Incident Command post and rehab for the workers. No injuries to the cleanup crews were reported during the 13 hour long incident.
(L-R) M.E.S. Photographer Garry Brownlee.
Garry Brownlee is the Department Photographer and is a member of the Resource Team. Many of the pictures on this web site of current events were taken by him. Pictures used by permission only. See more of his work here on flickr.
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Last modified: Friday October 18, 2019