Trains Collide East Of Goodwell: UPDATE 8:50pm
KSCB News - June 24, 2012 1:03 pm
UPDATE: 8:50pm From Shawn Yorks and Trudy Hart of The Guymon Daily Herald
Two cargo trains collided just east of Goodwell, Okla. about 10:08 a.m. on Sunday.
"The eastbound train was coming from Los Angeles on its way to Chicago, the westbound train was on its way to Chicago from Kansas City," said Tom Lange, a spokesman for Union Pacific Railroad. "Obviously there’s an investigation under way. We don’t know what caused the incident."
Union Pacific regional spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza said a two-person crew was aboard each train, and officials were unable to account for two engineers and a conductor.
"Our first priority is to account for them," Lange said.
Lange said they hope to recover the trains’ data recorders to find out exactly what happened.
Fire crews from Guymon, Texas County, Hooker and Yarbrough were on scene well into the night.
Lange said one car had resin in it, which is considered hazardous but it is not poisonous.
"That car did not derail," he said.
The Mason Trailer Park near Goodwell was evacuated.
Gary Mathews was driving down Highway 54 when the trains collided, and witnessed the accident.
"(I) saw trains coming toward each other for about 3 miles. Heard the eastbound train blowing the horn," Mathews said. "The trains hit head-on and then derailed. The westbound train was hauling cars. The westbound train laid over on it’s side as I passed. I did not see any operators inside the trains. I was 50 yards from the train when it collided.
"A wall of heat hit my windshield and came through it from the explosion of fuel in the engines. The eastbound train had three engines on it. The westbound train had two. The westbound train was moving very slow before the collision."
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Betsy Randolph said Highway 54 was closed from Guymon to Texhoma.
"We’re routing U.S. 54 at Guymon to U.S. 64 going west, and then south on Highway 95 south to Texhoma," Randoph said. "We are hoping to go ahead open the eastbound lanes."
As of press time, highway crews were placing cones to route traffic and reopen the highway.
The OHP, Texas County Sheriff’s Department, Union Pacific and the Guymon Fire Department established a unified command center.
Red Cross volunteers and staff from Woodward and Guymon were providing emergency assistance to approximately 50 first responders in Goodwell, following a train wreck. There are currently no sheltering needs, however, our teams will reassess if winds shift and fire affects nearby communities.Our teams are coordinating with local emergency management, Union Pacific officials and Southern Baptists who are on scene.
One firefighter was transported by Goodwell EMS to the Guymon hospital with symptoms of heat stroke as the high temperature reached 105 degrees.
UPDATE: 3:00pm Sunday Three Union Pacific Railroad crewmembers are missing after two freight trains collided in the Oklahoma Panhandle.
Union Pacific spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza says an eastbound train and a westbound train crashed about 10:08 a.m. Sunday near Goodwell, which is near the Texas border. Espinoza says a two-person crew was aboard each train, and officials are unable to account for two engineers and a conductor.
She says the other conductor appears to be uninjured.
Espinoza says two locomotives on the westbound train and a locomotive on the eastbound train caught fire after the collision. One train was carrying a resin solution, but Espinoza says that load wasn’t on fire and is being doused with water as a precaution.
Texas County Emergency Management Director Harold Tyson says firefighters are battling the blaze.
Smoke rises from the scene of a train collision two miles east of Goodwell on Sunday, June 24, 2012. A total of four people were on the trains. "A Train accident east of Goodwell on Hwy 54 has potential for explosion, is not stable, Hwy. 54 closed, as well as County roads nearby.
Several train cars are reported derailed, some with hazmat/flammable stickers. UP reported at least one train was carrying a highly explosive substance, but no word on where in the cars that was. Residents of Mason’s Trailer Park were evacuated as a precautionary measure as they were directly in the smoke plume from the fire.
Woodward County Hazmat Task Force and Woodward Co Emergency Management are on standby response status regarding fatal head-on train collision in Texas County.
Officials from West Texas Gas were on scene to shut off a main gas pipeline — which likely would affect .the people in Guymon, Goodwell and Texhoma.
Texas County Emergency Manager Harold Tyson stated there is NO threat of hazardous chemicals! the smoke is just diesel and train.
Tyson also reports there is one confirmed survivor. no other information has been released on other passengers.
Eye witness, Gary Matthews gave this accounting of the accident, " Saw trains coming toward each other for about 3 miles. Heard the eastbound train blowing the horn and going 68 mph even speed. The trains hit head-on and then derailed. The westbound train was hauling cars. The westbound train laid over on it’s side as I passed. I did not see any operators inside the trains. I was 50 yards from the train when it collided. A wall of heat hit my windshield and came through it from the explosion of fuel in the engines. The eastbound train had three engines on it. The westbound train had two. The westbound train was moving very slow before the collision. It happened between 9 and 10 AM. I did not note the exact time. "
DO NOT attempt to visit site. Everyone can view local media Facebook sites for immediate updates. Please allow emergency responders to handle the accident swiftly without interruption," according to a Guymon Police Department release.