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22 the tunnel's weakened ceiling and walls. Police continued to References check the tunnel to ensure there was no risk of the fire Anderson, T. & B.J. Paaske (2002). "Safety in Railway reigniting. Air quality checks were also conducted, and the experts were not allowed in until tests for poisons had been Tunnels and Selection of Tunnel Concept." Paper pre- completed. sented at the ESReDA 23rd Seminar, Nov. 1819, Delft Later analysis found that safety systems worked well dur- University, Netherlands. Available: ing the incident, with alerts sounding in four languages SafetyinRailwayTunnels_tcm4-10754.pdf (Accessed Jan. 6, within minutes. Truck drivers, familiar with the tunnel, 2005). were reported to have directed other users to safety. In addi- "Dozens Still Missing After Gotthard Tunnel Inferno" tion, approximately 656 feet (200 meters) of the tunnel (2001, Nov. 23). Swissinfo. Available: http://www.swissinfo. were only superficially damaged and the primary concrete org/eng/Swissinfo.html?siteSect=105&sid=881415, (Accessed lining appeared unscathed. Regardless, the tunnel was Aug. 27, 2004). closed for 2 months as engineers looked at every aspect of "Forensic Experts Search Tunnel Wreckage" (2001, Oct. 29). the infrastructure. BBC News.Available: With the tunnel closed, Alpine communities that depended 1626075.stm (Accessed Nov. 18, 2004). on traversing the Gotthard tunnel feared they would be cut "Gotthard Disaster Reveals Limits of Tunnel Safety" off during the coming winter. To alleviate some of the tunnel (2001, Nov. 23). Swissinfo. Available: traffic crisis, the Swiss federal railways increased the number eng/swissinfo.html?siteSect=111&sid=882217 (Accessed of trains carrying trucks through the Alps by 20 to 30 percent. Nov. 18, 2004). The number of trains carrying cars through the Ltschberg "Gotthard Tunnel Reopens" (2001, Dec. 21). tunnel between the Swiss cantons of Bern and Valais were also Available: increased. 21/tunnel.reopen (Accessed Oct. 24, 2004). The St. Gotthard tunnel reopened two months after the Henley, J. (2001, Oct. 25). "Tunnel Blaze Fuels Death-Trap incident occurred, with a number of new safety rules in place, Fears." The Guardian. Available: such as restricting the distances between trucks to 492 feet print/0,3858,4284634-103681,00.html (Accessed Aug. 27, (150 meters) and abiding by an alternate one-way traffic sys- 2004). tem introduced to bring the St. Gotthard tunnel in line with Henley, J. (2001, Oct. 26). "Vehicles Found Fused Together other major tunnels in Switzerland. Two-way truck traffic was in Molten Mass After Tunnel Inferno." The Guardian. Avail- eventually reestablished, but a maximum of 60 to 150 trucks able:,3858,4285670- per hour are permitted through the tunnel at one time 103681,00.html (Accessed Aug. 27, 2004). depending on the amount of traffic. Jones, G. (2001, Oct. 27). "Experts Demand Tunnel Swiss customs officials also began to hand out safety Safety Push." CNN.Com. Available: http://archives.cnn. brochures to truck drivers, and the federal government com/2001/WORLD/europe/10/26/ (Accessed worked with Swiss cantons to make tunnel safety part of truck Nov. 18, 2004). drivers' training. Opstad, K. (2003, Nov. 1819). "Fire Hazards in Tunnels and Underground Installations." In International Sympo- Conclusions sium on the Fusion Technology of Geosystem Engineering, Rock Engineering and Geophysical Exploration, Seoul, The St. Gotthard tunnel fire was the third major fire in Korea. 3 years in trans-Alpine, European tunnels. Although the Peter, F. (1998). "The Causes, Effects & Control of Real safety level in the tunnel was considered quite high at the time Tunnel Fires." Wien, am 02.08.1998. Available: www.pruef of the incident, in its aftermath new safety rules were devel- (Accessed Nov. 18, 2004). oped to reduce the number of trucks in the tunnel and their "Swiss Tunnel Inferno Kills 10" (2001, Oct. 24). direction of travel from two-way to one-way, although two- Available: way traffic has since been restored. By increasing the distances 10/24/swiss.tunnel/index.html (Accessed Dec. 8, 2004). between vehicles and by ensuring that all vehicles traveled in the same direction, it was felt that the chances of head-on and rear-end collisions would be reduced, and therefore the 3.2.4 Howard Street CSX Tunnel Fire chance of catastrophic fire in the tunnel would also be reduced. Location: Baltimore, Maryland The tunnel's ventilation system was also renovated to pro- Date: July 18, 2001 vide individually closeable and openable shutters. Incident Category: derailment and fire

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23 Tunnel Length: single-track rail tunnel, 1.7 miles Analysis of the Incident (2.7 kilometers) in length; approxi- Shortly after 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 18, 2001, CSX mately 4.8-percent upgrade freight train L421216 derailed in the Howard Street Tunnel in Fatalities and Injuries: 0 fatalities, 4 injuries Baltimore. The 60-car train was pulled by three locomotives and was traveling at 17 mph (27 kilometers per hour), below the speed limit of 25 mph (40 kilometers per hour). The train Synopsis was halted by the emergency brake, indicating an air brake loss of pressure, which is designed to prevent the engineer A 60-car freight train, of which eight cars in the rear half from restarting the train until the air sensor on the last car of the consist were carrying dangerous or hazardous materi- detects sufficient pressure. The air hose, which runs the length als, caught fire, probably because of a derailment in the of the train, was either severed or disconnected and caused Howard Street tunnel, located within the city of Baltimore. the train to stop about half a mile (800 meters) from the The train was stopped in the tunnel, and staff disconnected northern end of the tunnel. the three locomotives and escaped. There were no fatalities The train's crew, consisting of an engineer and a conduc- and only minor injuries, but the fire resulted in large quan- tor, attempted to contact a CSX dispatcher, but their radio tities of smoke escaping the tunnel. The fire brought the city would not transmit inside the tunnel. One member of the to a halt and resulted in a series of lawsuits by Baltimore crew used his cell phone to contact the CSX dispatch center against CSX. in Jacksonville, Florida. The crew members then dis- mounted the locomotive and, as policy required, attempted to walk the length of the train to locate the problem. They Analysis of Pre-Incident Information and Events were unable to do this because of the heavy black smoke that limited their visibility and made breathing difficult. The Howard Street tunnel opened in May 1895, when the The crew followed training and emergency procedures, Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) Railroad used it to carry freight shutting down the two lead locomotives and uncoupling through the city of Baltimore. The cost of the tunnel, known the third from the train so they could exit the tunnel. Sen- as the Baltimore Belt Line, drove the B&O into receivership in sors indicated that they left the tunnel at 3:27 p.m. and 1896, but the tunnel has been used ever since then as a major called CSX to describe the emergency and report what they north/south freight route. Originally 1.4 miles (2.3 kilome- had done. ters), an extension of 0.3 mile (536 meters) was added to the The train, traveling from Hamlet, North Carolina, to Oak tunnel in the 1980s to accommodate parking for the Balti- Island, New Jersey, had 31 loaded and 29 empty cars. Eleven more Orioles baseball stadium and a light rail station built at of the cars were derailed, including a tank car carrying about Camden Yards. 28,600 gallons (108,000 liters) of liquid tripropylene, a lubri- The tunnel, constructed mostly of concrete and refrac- cant similar to paint thinner. Fire officials believed that the tory brick, is a single-track freight rail that travels for derailment caused this car to rupture and fuel the fire. The 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers) through downtown Baltimore. It train was also transporting tank cars that contained has vertical walls and measures 22 feet (6.7 meters) wide by hydrochloric acid (a metal cleaner), glacial acetic acid (a flam- 27 feet (8.2 meters) high, although the dimensions vary mable glass solvent), fluorosilicic or hydrofluoric acid (a non- slightly along the tunnel's length. The tunnel's depth below combustible but corrosive acid used to fluoridate water), and grade varies from 3 feet (0.9 meters) to 60 feet (18 meters), ethyl hexyl phthalate (a combustible used to make a variety of and it has a 4.8-percent grade to account for the height dif- flexible products, including piping). None of these chemicals ference of approximately 330 feet (100 meters) from the were believed to have caught fire. The extreme smoke condi- entrance to the exit at Mount Royal Station. At the time of tions were also attributed by Baltimore's fire department to the derailment, the train was moving in the direction of the wood products that the train had been carrying. This assess- upward grade. ment was reinforced by air quality tests, which revealed Since the opening of Oriole Park Stadium and light rail at mostly steam and hydrocarbons, common in wood fires. Camden Yards, the area has become a focal point for cultural and tourist activities. From July 13 to15, Artfest 2001 had drawn more than 250,000 people to the area. The area's pop- Fatalities and Injuries ularity and its centrality to the vitality of Baltimore's busi- ness community played a large role in the traffic delays and There were no fatalities; two firefighters were hospitalized loss of revenue that the derailment and fire caused in the city after complaining of chest pains, and two workers were of Baltimore. treated and released from the hospital for heat-related

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24 injuries on the day of the fire. Four emergency workers, two Inner Harbor, which is a few blocks from the derailment of whom were CSX employees, were rescued by fire person- location, to boat traffic. The Maryland Department of the nel when one of them complained that his oxygen supply was Environment set up booms to minimize any possible con- running out. tamination from the chemicals escaping from the rail cars involved in the fire. The city's fire department was assisted by the Anne Arun- Fire and Emergency Response del County Fire Department, which sent a dozen firefighters, The response of Baltimore's fire department was delayed by two engines, and a truck to cover south Baltimore stations in the inability of the CSX crew to contact the dispatcher. The the event of secondary emergencies. crew made contact with the dispatcher at 4:04 p.m., about an In addition to CSX, the Maryland Transportation Author- hour after the train had stopped in the tunnel and the crew had ity (MTA)--which includes local bus, commuter bus, MARC, discovered smoke. The fire department arrived on the scene at Metro subway, and light rail--became involved in emergency 4:18 p.m. not in response to a report from CSX, but after response. MARC personnel initiated bus service in the area receiving calls from the public reporting black smoke coming when trains were unable to pass through. The MTA's Central from either end of the tunnel and up through sewer covers. Light Rail Line, which runs above the Howard Street tunnel, One hundred and fifty firefighters worked to extinguish the was disrupted, as was MTA bus service, which also runs along fire, which by 5:15 p.m. had been raised to five alarms. Those Howard Street. Also affected was the Metro, the MTA- who responded first tried to fight the fire by entering the tun- managed subway system, which passes below Howard Street nel from either end on vehicles with special rail wheels, but and the Howard Street tunnel. the intense heat and lack of visibility made this impossible. On the third day, CSX contractors began pumping acid Instead, they lowered large-diameter hoses from the street from two of the cars and replacing the 800 feet (243 meters) above into the tunnel and were able to reach the burning cars of track at the south end of the tunnel that had been damaged after 10:00 p.m. To combat the smoke and heat, they used while removing the railcars. The fire burned for an additional oxygen masks and air tanks and entered the tunnel on a sports 2 days; it was not fully out until 5 days after the derailment. utility vehicle outfitted with train wheels. Firefighting efforts were complicated by the rupture of a Damage and Service Restoration 40-inch (100-centimeter) water main running directly above the tunnel; this rupture was reported at 6:25 p.m. The rupture It took 5 days for the fire to be totally controlled and for all resulted in the collapse of a number of city streets. It also rail cars to be removed from the Howard Street tunnel. flooded nearby buildings, halted electricity to about 1,200 Recovery efforts continued for 55 days. The final work was the customers of Baltimore Gas and Electric, and interrupted a completion of road repairs on September 10, 2001. major Internet cable line and an MCI WorldCom fiber optic Because of the central location of the fire and the concern telephone cable. that hazardous materials might explode, rail and other trans- At about 5:45 p.m., the city had activated civil defense portation modes in Baltimore and beyond were disrupted. sirens to warn citizens of danger from the fire and the haz- Within Baltimore, street closures in the Howard Street area ardous materials. A number of key local streets were shut cut traffic to the central business district and to the Inner down, including Howard Street between Pratt and Mount Harbor tourist area. Passenger cars, commercial traffic, and Royal streets, and parts of Lombard Street, a major downtown buses were also affected. Howard Street was reopened to traf- thoroughfare that collapsed following the water main rup- fic on July 23 except in the area of the water main break, which ture. All major highway entrances into Baltimore were closed was not completely repaired until July 29. by city officials, and baseball games at nearby Camden Yards The MTA Metro's State Center Station (which was the clos- were postponed because of the smoke emanating from both est station to the fire) was closed because of the smoke, ends of the tunnel and through the sewer covers, which although trains maintained their schedules without other caused a black cloud over parts of the city. service disruptions. The station reopened on July 20. The The Baltimore City Police Department, assisted by the Bal- MTA light rail service was disrupted because of the water timore Department of Public Works, controlled traffic on main break; bus service was initiated within an hour of the surface streets and closed highways I-395 and I-83 and US-40 discovery of the water main break to move passengers around into the city to preclude greater traffic congestion. As was the disrupted stations. All bus routes that crossed Howard mandated, notification of the presence of hazardous materi- Street were turned back or diverted. While some of the diver- als on the train was given to the Maryland Department of the sions and delays were of short duration, others persisted for Environment's Emergency Response Division. Within 2 lengthy periods. For instance, full service on the MTA's light hours of the start of the fire, the U.S. Coast Guard closed the rail line was not restored and substitute bus service was not

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25 discontinued until September 8, which was 56 days after the Based on a model created after the fire, it was estimated derailment and fire. that peak temperatures in the tunnel had reached approxi- The closing of the Howard Street tunnel affected freight mately 1,832F (1,000C) in the flaming regions and approx- moving between Chicago and the east coast, some of which imately 932F (500C) when averaged over a length of the was rerouted via Selkirk, New York, and South Kearny, New tunnel equal to three or four rail car lengths. Because of the Jersey. CSX also used tracks owned by Norfolk Southern to insulation provided by the brick walls of the tunnel, the cal- minimize delays. culated temperatures within a few car lengths of the fire were Much of Baltimore's business area was affected by the inci- relatively uniform, similar to an oven or a furnace. The peak dent. In October 2001, CSX paid the city $1.3 million to cover wall surface temperature reached about 1,472F (800C) some of the costs, primarily the overtime for police, firefight- where the flames were directly impinging and averaged 752F ers, and public works department employees. The payment (400C) over the length of three to four rail cars. Firefighters did not include the costs of cleaning up the chemical spill, attempting to enter the tunnel lost all vision within 300 feet investigating the incident, replacing the ruptured water main, (91 meters) of the entrance; the use of self-contained breath- or repairs to damaged roads. CSX's insurance adjuster ing apparatus (SCBA) became essential when gas masks and accepted claims from 25 merchants on Howard Street for air-purifying respirators (APRs) were found to be useless. damages and lost business and paid $20,000 to a business Despite the emergence of a number of issues--including improvement district operating in the area. CSX also paid tunnel access, the presence of hazardous materials, freight $15,000 to volunteer groups that served meals to rescue crews and other transportation delays, and the need for environ- responding to the incident. mental monitoring--most analyses of the emergency The Baltimore Orioles baseball organization was also response were positive. The potential for disaster was great; affected. A double-header was being played at Camden Yards the fire department was not advised of the fire for an hour Stadium at the time of the incident. The second game was can- after it occurred, and the water main break could not have celled, and all Orioles personnel and fans were evacuated. The been anticipated, but once agencies were notified, they next day's game was cancelled because of the smoke and traffic worked well together. The delayed notification by CSX to the disruptions in the area. The team postponed four games sched- fire department doubtlessly added to the financial cost of the uled in the following 3 days; no scheduled game was played incident, but the fire department was aided by CSX employ- until July 21. An Orioles' official estimated that the postponed ees at the scene, who had a complete waybill that identified games resulted in a financial loss to the team of $3 million. the location and contents of all cars and that was immediately An unusual side effect of the incident caused problems for shared with the fire incident commander on the scene. the state of Michigan's campground and harbor reservation The city agencies were able to work together and rely on system when a Department of Natural Resources cable and mutual aid pacts that had been developed earlier. CSX also telephone system located in Cumberland, Maryland, discov- worked closely with the city agencies, contracting for a private ered that callers to 800-44-PARKS were either getting a busy firm to conduct air and water monitoring and providing all signal or were forced to endure far longer waits for an opera- other information as needed. Response by fire department tor than usual. personnel was aided by a drill that had recently been con- ducted in one of the city's Amtrak tunnels using a MARC train and by previous drills in a Metro tunnel. Although these Conclusions training exercises were intended to practice response in the This incident presented three interrelated problems to all event of a passenger train accident, they acquainted fire per- the emergency responders, but particularly to the Baltimore sonnel with the environment of a railroad tunnel, which City Fire Department, which committed the largest number helped them in their response to a somewhat similar freight of people to the emergency response effort and had direct incident. responsibility for fighting the fire that the derailment caused. The major criticism of the handling of the incident per- The fire department worked closely with the department of tained to information access, attributed to the failure to des- public works to contain the water main break that occurred ignate a public information officer during the initial stages directly above the fire. In addition to having to fight a fire in and to the problematic internal and external communications a tunnel that was too dark and smoky for them to enter, the by CSX. firefighters were faced with the presence of hazardous mate- On January 5, 2005, the National Transportation Safety rials and with the weakened structural integrity of the water Board's (NTSB's) recommendations R-04-13 and -14 indi- main and surrounding areas. The tunnel remained intact cated that CSX maintain historical records documenting throughout the incident and was reopened to rail freight traf- inspection and maintenance activities affecting the tunnel fic once debris was cleared away. and that the corporation take whatever steps necessary to