CBS12 News: Hazardous materials transported by rail in Delray raises concerns

Posted on September 13, 2016

By Andrea Marvin

DELRAY BEACH (CBS12) — It’s an issue CBS 12 first brought you more than a year ago, and now we are getting answers. Hazardous materials are being transported on rail cars that cut right through neighborhoods in Palm Beach County. Tuesday, Delray Beach city leaders held a meeting about concerns surrounding liquefied natural gas, specifically. The city tells us the flammable liquid passes through Delray every single day in the railroad that cuts through downtown Delray Beach and dense neighborhoods.

Currently it is being used to fuel the trains, but plans call for it to be transported on tracks as a commodity. Assistant fire chief Kevin Green says the city has no choice. "This is happening around the country, this is the technology of the future and we're just in the middle of it," Green said. Due to the low cost, the demand for LNG is expected to skyrocket as cruise lines like Carnival and shipping companies like Fed Ex announced new fleets will be powered by it. But a spill or derailment could be devastating because the liquid can catch fire when it hits the air.

Delray Fire Rescue is taking preventative measures going forward. "We're improving our tactics and equipment and what's needed to fight this is large quantities of firefighting foam," Green said. The foam creates a blanket that covers the liquid. Delray is also working with other municipalities. LNG is already being transported as a commodity by semis on the roadways. 

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