According to Bill Pippins, Stoddard County emergency management director, about 1:15 p.m. Wednesday Union Pacific Railroad notified the Stoddard County Sheriff's Department in Bloomfield that a derailment had occurred north of Bell City on Highway P. Two Burlington Northern engines were involved in a collision and turned over on their sides.
When Pippins reached the scene, he first checked the inside of the engine. "I found the engineer and the conductor. They were OK, a little shaken up, but no medical treatment was needed," Pippins said.
One grain car filled with corn was knocked over. After assessing the cars, Pippins found no hazardous material and no evident spillage of fuel.
Even though everything appeared normal, Union Pacific officials decided to bring in a company, which called in an excavator in case one of the fuel tanks ruptured. Two more companies from Memphis, Tenn., were brought in to do the clearing of the hopper car and engines. Union Pacific then brought in a new rail crew to cut out the damaged rails and replace them with new rails. The entire operation ended around 12:35 a.m. Thursday.
"Union Pacific was successful in lifting the engines off of the siding and set them into a bean field west of the accident scene," Pippins said. "Union Pacific brought in an 18-wheeler tanker and pumped off fuel from both engines."
About 50 trains were stacked up north and south of the accident during the recovery time, Pippins said, adding the rail line the accident occurred on is the second busiest of that time period.
The cause of the accident is still under investigation, but officials know the southbound engine hit one of the cars on engine traveling northbound, Pippins said.
Providing assistance at the scene were Stoddard County Sheriff's Department, Bell City Police and Fire departments, Stoddard County Ambulance District, Dexter Fire Department and Advance Fire Department in case of a fire.