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Freight Rail Cutting Off Emergency Vehicles In Part Of Gary, Ind.

(CBS) – What if you needed an ambulance or a firetruck, and they were delayed by a train?

It's happening in one Chicago-area city, and people are outraged.

CBS 2's Pamela Jones reports.

Trapped by trains -- it happens to emergency crews and everyday drivers several times a day in Gary's Miller area.

People say they're fed up.

"That doesn't make sense. Now you're jeopardizing somebody's life," says motorist Lindie Jackson. "This is the only way we have in and out."

Nearly six months ago, crews tore out and began rebuilding the overpass drivers used to get around four sets of tracks that cross Lake Street.

CBS 2 observed trains stop several ambulances in their tracks, even threatening firefighters rushing to house fires over the summer.

Luckily, only their supervisor got stuck.

"Had that train come before we were able to cross, nobody would have gotten here as quick as we did," Joe Jamrok of the Gary Fire Department says.

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson says railroad giant CSX is hauling more business, which means more train traffic.

"This is something that is of grave concern. Of course, they've been fined, but it's my theory that fines really don't get to the bottom of it," she says.

CSX says it is working on a way to create a way for emergency vehicles to have access in and out of Miller at all times and to ease headaches for everyday drivers.

But residents don't believe that can happen before the end of November, the earliest time the closed roads and the bridge that bypasses the train mess could open.

The city met with CSX around six weeks ago to talk about the issue, and the mayor says she has asked for another meeting.



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