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'Watching that in real-time was kind of freaky': Residents react to train derailment near Robins Air Force Base

The train was coming from Macon and headed to Valdosta. There were around 20 total cars derailed during the incident

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — July 13 Update at 1:20 p.m.: 

According to Conner Spielmaker with Norfolk Southern there were 140 total cars derailed during the incident near Robins Air Force Base. 

He says the train was coming from Macon and headed to Valdosta. 

Speed will be a part of the investigation that Norfolk reports to the Federal Railroad Administration. Spielmaker says that all derailments receive the same treatment. 

He says that liquid Sulphur was one of the products being carried by the train among other items. Liquid Sulphur is used in fertilizer, rubber, solvents and other such items. 

He says they expect to have train traffic moving again later Wednesday afternoon. 

Original Story: 

A train derailment occurred in the heart of Warner Robins just outside Robins Air Force Base. It happened during the afternoon commute just after 5 p.m. near Watson Boulevard and Highway 247.

Steven Waters and Courtney Ingram work in Warner Robins. 

"The cops came by me, sirens going, the whole deal. I just figured it was a standard wreck," Waters said.

"It's just a lot of black smoke just comes up. I was like, oh my god, is this train about to blow up? That's really my first thought," Ingram said.

They both say they've never seen an accident quite like this.

"Then I noticed the cars themselves are starting to tip over. It's like a domino effect as it's tipping over; everything behind it starts to tip over as well," Ingram said. 

Houston County Fire Chief Chris Stoner said around 20 cars derailed; so far, they don't know why. He said there were no injuries, and no hazardous materials were leaking.

"Watching that in real-time was kind of freaky. I was just screaming because I didn't know if there were any other cars or people walking on the other side," Ingram said. 

Highway 247 is currently open, and Green Street, near the wreck, was partially open, but Stoner asks that everyone avoid the area if possible.

Southbound lanes of Highway 247 will be closed at various times between Green Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard, according to a post on the Houston County Emergency Management Facebook page.

Norfolk Southern will have heavy equipment blocking lanes as they work to get the rail cars upright.  Drivers will be diverted down Green Street during these closures. Gravel will also be down in the roadway; drivers are asked to proceed with caution through the area or avoid it if possible.

 "At this time, it looks like Watson Boulevard will be closed for a prolonged period because the derailment and the cars that are on their sides are located in front of that intersection," Stoner said.

Watson Boulevard at Highway 247 will be closed for an extended period. There are no details on how long it may be closed. Drivers will be detoured down 3rd Street until further notice.

WHAT OTHERS ARE READING:

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