PA train wreck ousts 200

Local churches were housing evacuees after a freight train carrying a corrosive chemical derailed in a Pittsburgh suburb early Monday.

BY SUSAN KIM | CREIGHTON, Penn. | January 31, 2005


Local churches were housing evacuees after a freight train carrying a corrosive chemical derailed in a Pittsburgh suburb early Monday.

At least 200 people were evacuated, and by mid-morning Monday, the Holy Family Catholic Church in Creighton was housing 25 people, most of them elderly, said church secretary Lorraine Swaiko.

"We also have 2 or 3 dogs," Swaiko said. The Salvation Army and American Red Cross were providing meals.

"Already, it has been a long wait, especially for elderly people," said Swaiko. "It has been nerve-wracking for them."

Evacuees did not know when they would be allowed to return home, but were allowed to briefly return home with emergency crew escorts to get medications.

Several train cars toppled into the Allegheny River when the train derailed at 5:30 a.m. near the East Deer Township. One of the cars leaked an unknown amount of anhydrous hydrogen fluoride, a chemical used in steelmaking, according to state Department of Environmental Protection reports. The train tanker can hold up to 15,000 gallons. Water departments downriver were notified of the accident, and some local roads were closed.

Thirteen of the Norfolk Southern train's 83 cars derailed. There were no reports of injuries.


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