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Recent Derailments Bring To Light Risks Of Oil Trains In City

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- It's been three years to the day since an oil train derailment and explosion in Quebec. Forty-seven people died, making it one of the worst oil train disasters in North America.

The anniversary comes weeks after similar train derailments across the country and even here in Maryland, WJZ's George Solis reports.

Just a month ago, a similar incident in Oregon forced the evacuation of two schools.

"If they experience an impact car to car impact or a derailment, they tend to explode," said Jennifer Kunze.

Through the years, there have been a number of close calls in Baltimore City and county.

WJZ was there in 2001 after a derailment in the Howard Street Tunnel caused a fire that burned for days. There was also a collision in Rosedale back in 2013.

Most recently, there was a 13 train car derailment again in the Howard Street Tunnel. No oil was on board, but other hazardous chemicals were.

Those railways are the very same used to transport millions of gallons of crude oil through Baltimore in recent years.

WJZ was at City Hall on Wednesday as community members pushed to pass a new law for more studies on the health and risk impacts of oil trains through the city. The route exposes potentially more than 165,000 people in the event of an explosion.

More than 2,000 petitions and handwritten letters from people living along the blast zone were delivered to City Hall -- but there was no one to collect them. The group plans on trying again at a future public hearing.

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