The Threat of a Derailment is Real

We should all hope it doesn’t happen here

By Greg McCormick

In response to Dave Skinner’s “Staying on Track” piece in the Feb. 21 Beacon: The threat is real. Between 2000 and 2012 there were 37 derailments along the Middle Fork Flathead River.

Regarding Lac Megantic, I take issue with every one of Mr. Skinners “perfect-storm” contributing factors. What I know: A 7- car train of Bakken crude oil parked for the night 7 miles from Lac Megantic. The sole engineer left the train. Five minutes after he left, a fire was reported in a locomotive. Twelve local firefighters extinguished the fire and left the scene. Just before 1 a.m. the train began to roll. It reached speeds of 60 mph before it derailed. The tracks were next to a lake. The flames found a 48-inch storm water pipe. Wooden homes along the lakeshore burned from the inside out as fire erupted out of water pipes, drains and sewers.

To include “incompletely trained first responders” in a list of contributing factors is to do a great injustice to the men and women who risk their lives to be first responders.

We should all hope it doesn’t happen here.

Greg McCormick

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