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Archive for Sunday, August 15, 2010

40 years ago: Derailed cars explode, injure 12

August 15, 2010

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In the town of Melvern, Kansas, two derailed tankcars of liquefied petroleum gas exploded, sending flames 2,000 feet into the air, shaking the whole town, and sending out fireballs over four blocks, starting dozens of fires and injuring twelve of the town’s 400 residents. Two homes, the Methodist church, two city maintenance sheds, a 4-H building and a bridge were destroyed, and many other homes were damaged. Emergency vehicles were dispatched from Topeka, Ottawa, Lyndon, Forbes AFB, and rural fire districts, and the city’s 40,000-gallon water tower was nearly drained in fighting the fires. One resident reported that there had been “a lot of derailments” at that spot. He added, “I was watching TV. I heard the train coming, I looked out the door and saw a boxcar coming up over the embankment. Then there was a big explosion... I ran out the other door and helped my sister and another woman get away. I looked back and saw stuff flying in the air.”

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