Residents in the vicinity of a CSX train derailment in Lakeland, Florida, were told to shelter in place early Monday morning after crews confirmed the overturned trains spilled toxic molten sulfur.
According to WFLA News Channel 8, Polk County Fire Rescue crew returning from a medical call noticed the train derailment at the intersection of Kathleen Road and N. Galloway Road about 1:50 a.m. The Fire Rescue said on its Facebook page that “the crew observed several train cars rolled over and mangled.”
Communication with state officials and CSX confirmed that the overturned cars were hauling molten sulfur, a hazardous substance that reacts with hydrocarbons to form toxic and flammable gases.
Once officials confirmed that sulfur spilled in the train derailment, Polk County Sheriff’s Deputies went door to door in the area to warn residents to shelter in place. People were asked to stay inside, close their windows, and turn off their air conditioning units, and motorists were asked to avoid trying to approach the train derailment. Authorities said no mandatory evacuations were needed and the shelter-in-place order was lifted about 8:45 a.m.
CSX told WFLA in a statement that it sent company personnel and contractors to the train derailment site to assess the situation and develop a plan to remediate the sulfur spill. The company also said it was working to re-rail the derailed cars and restore service. No injuries were reported in connection with the accident, CSX said.
According to CSX, the train was traveling from Waycross, Georgia, to Winston, Florida. It was hauling 192 railcars loaded with a variety of freight, including molten sulfur, cardboard, oats, and rock.
The train derailment remains under investigation. Neither CSX nor Polk County officials said what may have caused the train to run off its tracks.