Van Buren Township Train Derailment Involves Hazardous Material Car and Same Operator as East Palestine Incident

On Thursday morning, a train derailed in Van Buren Township near Detroit, Michigan. WBJK reports that the accident, despite one car carrying hazardous materials in it, is not considered a hazmat.

The Van Buren Township accident involved at least seven cars.

Van Buren Township Public Safety stated, “There is no evidence of hazardous materials being exposed, and no trains containing hazardous materials were compromised. No injuries have been reported.”

According to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, there are no signs that there is a danger to the public.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D. Michigan) issued a statement saying, “We are also in contact with the relevant federal agencies, including the EPA.” No one knows of any release of hazardous materials at this time, but the car with hazardous materials has been placed upright and is being taken from the area where the other cars are. The EPA is sending a team to ensure public safety.

Residents are asked to stay clear of the area by police. Haggerty Road south of I-94 will be closed, and Huron River Drive west of Haggerty won’t be open.

It is still not known what caused the train to derail. The investigation is ongoing and active.

WDIV TV reported that the train was operated in part by Norfolk Southern – which is the same operator responsible for the accident in East Palestine, Ohio.

The derailment comes less than two weeks after about 50 cars carrying toxic chemicals derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. The train derailment released toxic chemicals into the area, including Ethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether, Ethylhexyl Acrylate, Isobutylene, Vinyl Chloride, Hydrogen Chloride, and Phosgene.

According to Newsweek, there have been more than a dozen derailments of trains in the U.S. this year. However, the number of train derailments in America is higher than many may think.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics, which is part of the Department of Transportation, tracks and analyses statistics on commercial aviation, multimodal freight activity, and transportation economics. Since 1990, the BTS keeps an annual record of train derailments.

According to the BTS, there were 54,539 train accidents between 1990 and 2021. This is an average of 1,704 per year.

In the same time frame, 5,547 people were injured from a train derailment or roughly 174 per year. There have been 131 fatalities during that same time period, or about four deaths a year.