10 On Your Side Investigation: Crude by Rail Part 2

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – We know the U.S. is shipping more crude oil by rail than ever before.

This increases the risk of a hazmat incident involving crude.

Are local responders ready for such an event?

Prairie Creek firefighters found themselves in the classroom in a training class with Stan Capobianco of the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office, instructing them on how to respond to a crude oil incident on rail lines.

PART ONE: Crude by Rail

“My goal is to give them enough information to be aware of the product that may be involved in an incident,” Capobianco told us.

Crude by rail is coming to Terre Haute soon.

Each day, the city could see as many as six 100 car trains carrying more than 1 million gallons of crude oil.

“It’s no different than what they see on state and county highways,” according to Capobianco.

Capobianco spent part of his fall training in Pueblo, Colorado, learning how to respond to such incidents.

For evidence of how serious these incidents could be, look no further than the tragedy in Quebec that killed 42.

Terre Haute Fire’s hazmat director says residents should know, CSX has the best safety record in the industry.

“They’re really taking this task to heart, because they know this is something completely different than what anyone has dealt with before,” THFD Hazmat director Russell Feuquay said.

On the whole, the railroad industry’s safety record is very good.

Of the countless trains hauling freight across the country, 99.98 percent of those trains reach their final destinations incident-free.

Also, rail car manufacturers are making crude oil tankers that have added head shields and reinforced valves.

“Hopefully, were not going to have a puncture, leak, and fire,” Feuquay told us.

There’s one oil refinery located in the Wabash Valley.

It’s the Marathon Refinery in Robinson, Illinois.

We asked the company how that refinery receives its crude, they tell us they accept crude by rail, pipelines, trucks, ships, and barges.

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