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Michigan train derailment one of more than 1,000 each year, federal data says

Michigan train derailment one of more than 1,000 each year, federal data says
Michigan train derailment one of more than 1,000 each year, federal data says 02:00

VAN BUREN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - As investigators look into what caused a train derailment in Van Buren Township Thursday morning, some who live nearby say the derailment has put them on edge. 

The incident comes less than two weeks after a derailment in Ohio that released toxic chemicals. Environmental officials say the Michigan derailment poses no danger to the public, but many in the area said they are still nervous. 

"Can never be too cautious, you know," said Antonio Brown, of Romulus, a town neighboring the derailment site.

As crews worked through the night Thursday to clear the scene, many residents couldn't get the image of the Ohio derailment explosion out of their heads.

"All I could think about was that other derailment in Ohio," said Evan Miracle, who lives in Van Buren Township.

"I heard about whatever happened in Ohio, so I'm like, not trying to put one and two together here..." said Romulus resident, Anthony Patton. 

Though some may be weary after the high-profile derailment in Ohio, derailments themselves aren't entirely uncommon. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration, there are around 1,000 derailments each year since 2019.

Van Buren Township police, the Norfolk Southern train company, and environment officials have all said no hazardous materials were involved in the derailment. 

A spokesperson for the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy says one of the train cars was carrying the hazardous substance, liquid chlorine, but says that the car was not overturned. There were no leaks or spills, so there is no impact on the water or soil, the spokesperson says.

The derailment did cause traffic problems.

"The buses have to cross those tracks daily, to get to school quicker," Miracle said. "We had to completely turn around. There was a big line of traffic that was turning, and as we came back, we had to go a whole different way home."

Brown said the derailment made him so late for work, he had to call out. 

"I just took the day off. The trains off the tracks, I took it as a sign," he said. 

Norfolk Southern is the same company involved in the Ohio derailment. A spokesperson for the company said there were no reported injuries in the derailment, and they are working with specialized contractors on the site. An investigation into what caused the derailment is ongoing. 

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