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Posted: 7/19/2001 3:43:22 PM EDT
Baltimore Train Wreck Paralyzes City By JOHN BIEMER .c The Associated Press BALTIMORE (AP) - A fire raging for a second day Thursday in a train tunnel under Baltimore cast smoke over downtown offices, shut down the Orioles' ballpark, and burned fiber-optic cables, slowing Internet traffic across the mid-Atlantic. Several city blocks were closed above the tunnel where a train carrying hazardous materials derailed Wednesday afternoon. Extreme heat kept firefighters from vacuuming up spilled hydrochloric acid, and just six of the train's 60 cars had been removed from the tunnel by Thursday afternoon. ``We're told some of the boxcars are actually glowing,'' fire department spokesman Hector Torres said. ``You're talking about glowing metal. I'm guessing 1,000 or 1,500 degrees.'' More than 100 firefighters battled the blaze. Two were hospitalized for chest pains Wednesday. The train was carrying wood as well as hydrochloric acid and at least five other hazardous chemicals. But Torres said air quality tests showed that the smoke was coming mostly from burning wood. ``Right now, there doesn't appear to be any toxins in the smoke, so that's a good sign,'' Torres said. The fire caused major Internet slowdowns in the mid-Atlantic states. Fiber optic cable running through the tunnel was damaged by the blaze, but authorities said they had not yet assessed the extent of the damage. On Wednesday, police shut down major highways into the city for several hours. The second game of an Oriole double-header was postponed at Camden Yards on Wednesday, as was Thursday's game. ``It's like New Year's Day. There's nobody around, no business to be had,'' said Ron Furman, owner of Max's at Camden Yards, a bar across from the stadium. The Coast Guard closed portions of the Inner Harbor to all water traffic, including water taxis that ferry tourists along the waterfront restaurants and bars and take commuters to work. Baltimore's aquarium, one of the city's biggest tourist attractions, remained open. A water-main break caused by the derailment knocked out power and collapsed a small section of Lombard Street, a major downtown thoroughfare. Baltimore Gas & Electric said 1,200 customers lost power, but service had been restored Thursday to all but two office buildings. No homes or businesses were evacuated, but health officials warned people in the area to stay inside, keep windows closed and turn off ventilation systems. Robert Gould, a spokesman for CSX Transportation Inc., said the more than two dozen trains that travel through the city each day would have to be rerouted or rescheduled. A National Transportation Safety Board team was investigating the cause of the accident, which happened as the train was traveling from North Carolina to New Jersey. The city and state allowed employees who work downtown to take Thursday off, and Mayor Martin O'Malley encouraged private employers to do the same. AP-NY-07-19-01 1829EDT
Link Posted: 7/19/2001 10:24:42 PM EDT
This is a view looking out my office window at Baltimore's Inner Harbor. The train wreck is three blocks west (to the right in the pic) of this intersection. Needless to say, I avoided the area today! [img]http://wsphotofews.excite.com/013/Uz/zu/vr/zV22012.jpg[/img]
Link Posted: 7/20/2001 9:49:22 AM EDT
Man its amazing how hot wood can burn. Although some of the cars had hasmat stuff on them, most were just loaded with lumber and that is what caught fire. According to my AOL news pop up they have finally reached one of the tank cars and have started pumping it out. HCl. nasty stuff.
Link Posted: 7/20/2001 12:10:20 PM EDT
The building I work in is across the street to the left and back about 2 blocks from gus's picture. My commute home usually takes me right past one end of the tunnel. Not today, though.
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