Train derails in Middlebury, prompting evacuation, traffic backups

10/22/07 5:54PM By John Dillon

(Host) An evacuation order remains in effect in the heart of Middlebury as officials work to contain gasoline spilled during a train derailment this afternoon.

Officials ordered 30 streets in town evacuated because two of the train cars have been leaking gasoline.

VPR's John Dillon is in Middlebury and explains what happened.

(Dillon) ``At 1:54 ... train was northbound ... did go off rails ... couple cars tipped over.''

(Host) Fuel oil ignited when the train derailed, raising alarms in Middlebury because of the gasoline on several of the cars.

The fire was put out and no one was injured. Flame retardant foam was sprayed onto the overturned tankers even after the fire was put out.

At least some of the gasoline has flowed into the Otter Creek and officials say they expect there will be a massive cleanup.

Homes and businesses in an area between downtown and Middlebury College have been evacuated.

Middlebury Union High School and Mary Hogan elementary school are near the derailment. Students from both schools were evacuated and taken to neighboring schools, where their parents were able to pick them up.

But getting through Middlebury became a nightmare because Route Seven, Main Street and many other roads were closed.

The American Legion south of town was opened as an evacuation site for people in areas close to the derailment.

Vermont Emergency Management Director Barbara Farr says a hazardous materials team is on the scene.

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