NBC10, George Spencer
Crude oil is transported by train through our area. Are we prepared in case of an explosion emergency? George Spencer has the story.
Explosions involving oil trains have become a very scary reality in recent years.
From the December explosion that forced hundreds of North Dakota residents to flee, to the derailment of a crude oil train in Canada that killed more than 45 people to a very close call right here in Philadelphia last month.
The scare came when an oil tanker derailed on a bridge over the Schuylkill River. Railroads crews were able to transfer the flammable crude oil from the five suspended rail cars, but there's a strong possibility that not every incident involving oil trains will end safely.
"It's scary! It's scary!" Southwest Philadelphia resident Sarah Kurnes told NBC10's George Spencer.
Yes, it is scary, especially since the highly flammable crude oil is being transported directly through some of our city's most populated areas like University City, Center City and South Philadelphia.
Iris Marie Bloom is part of a coalition of community activists looking to stop the oil trains from traveling through our area, an area, critics say, that simply can not evacuate safely in the event of a disaster.
"Imagine most of the city trying to evacuate in the middle of the day, or even the middle of the night..." Philadelphian Coryn Wolk said.
Local groups aren't the only ones trying to stop the traveling of these trains through big cities. Federal officials are also discussing whether these trains should be re-routed around cities.
Even employees of Philadephia Energy Solution, a company that employs nearly a thousand locals, agree that something needs to be done to assure the safety of residents surrounding railways.
"Everyone wants to have safe transportation of this vital energy source," said Chief Executive Officer Phil Rinaldi.