As of 10 PM Sunday August 6, 2017, CSX reported to Lugoff Fire crews that all cars had been removed from the derailment and the rail had been repaired allowing for limited rail travel at lowered speeds while installed sensors measure any rail movement from the repaired areas. CSX crews will remain in the area into next week clearing debris and restoring the surrounding track area while removing old rail materials. All Lugoff Fire crews had cleared the scene late Saturday evening around 9 PM after providing Fire Engine support to a CSX contractor onsite assisting with recovery efforts. CSX team members have been in constant contact with the Lugoff Battalion Chief of Operations and Incident Commander during and after the derailment keeping the Department updated on the status of the repair and recovery efforts.
During the response to the derailment, Lugoff Fire crews utilized equipment recently purchased for these type of incidents to include a new Custom Command Engine used for Incident Command operations for the duration of the incident, a LMTV off-road military transport vehicle used to survey the wooded area of the crash site, and a Polaris 4-seat UTV also purchased to survey the difficult-to-reach incident scene. The Lugoff Battalion Chief credits the on-duty staff of the Kershaw County E911 Communications Center with providing critical, professional, and timely information during the response to help immediately locate the derailment in a wooded area south of US 601 in Lugoff and communicating specific safety information concerning the hazardous materials being carried in the derailed tanker car involved to ensure responders could protect themselves, CSX crews, and citizens near the derailment area. The material was identified as solid Hexamethylenediamine being delivered to the local Invista industrial facility in Lugoff less than 2 miles north of the crash site. This material poses very dangerous properties hazardous to responders and the public when released from its rail transportation tanker vessel.
“This was the best of a worst-case scenario our crews could face during a train derailment” Lugoff Fire Chief Dennis Ray stated. “Of special note is that an AMTRAK passenger train also uses the same track a few hours after the CSX cargo train passes. If the AMTRAK had derailed like the CSX did, this incident would have been much more tragic and difficult to manage. We were very fortunate on this one that it was a cargo train, no Haz-Mat leaked, no fire was present, no injuries were reported, no evacuations had to take place, and no roadways were blocked for extended periods of time. We were very fortunate and our staff performed very well applying hands-on CSX Railway Incident Training we hosted at our station in 2016 followed by AMTRAK response training. This incident was very well managed by our Incident Commander and the CSX response team was very impressive with a very rapid response. Our community should be very proud of our Lugoff team responding to this incident so quickly, locating the incident scene, surveying the immediate threat areas to include commercial buildings and neighborhoods, applying Unified Command to coordinate multiple agencies working the incident, preparing for this type of incident months prior with realistic response training, and proactively purchasing equipment for these type of remote responses” Chief Ray stated.
Lugoff crews extend great appreciation to all of the agencies and firefighters providing support to the Department during this incident to ensure all available resources were utilized in this high risk, very low frequency event. Lugoff staff also extend appreciation to members of the local radio, TV, online, and print media who provided immediate notice to citizens of the isolation of the incident dangers to the immediate area and the progress of crews working the event to our community and citizens in the area.