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26 exchange information with the city of Baltimore on mainte- Styron, H.C. (n.d.). CSX Tunnel Fire, Baltimore, MD, July nance and construction activities within and in the vicinity of 2001. Emmitsburg, MD: U.S. Fire Administration (Technical the tunnel. Recommendations R-04-15 and -16, issued the Report Series, USFA-TR-140). same day to the city of Baltimore, reiterated the need for bet- "Toxic Crisis in Day 2: Train Derailment, Water Main Break ter cooperation and information exchange between CSX and Cripple Downtown Baltimore" (2001, July 18). The Capital the city and called on the city to update its emergency pre- (Annapolis, MD), p. 1. paredness documents to include information on hazardous Wald, M.L. (Jan. 14, 2005). "Cause of Fire in Rail Tunnel Is materials discharge response procedures specific to tunnel Not Found." The New York Times, p. A19. environments and to include infrastructure information on Weiss, E.M., & Hsu, S.S. (2005, Feb. 2). "90-Day Hazmat the Howard Street tunnel. Ban Is Passed; Measure Will Bar Shipments in D.C." The On January 13, 2005, the NTSB reported that it was unable Washington Post, p. B1. to determine the cause of the incident. The report concluded, however, that according to a finite element analysis, the 40- 3.2.5 Kitzsteinhorn Tunnel Cable Car Fire inch (100-centimeter) water main above the tunnel broke after the train had derailed, as a result of the thermal expansion of Location: Kaprun, Austria the tunnel caused by the postaccident fire within the tunnel. Date: November 11, 2000 Although the report was approved unanimously by the five Incident Category: fire members of the board, two board members were critical of the Tunnel Length: 2.2 miles (3.5 kilometers); 45-degree length of time the investigation took and the lack of attention inclination; single-bore tunnel to the security implications of shipping hazardous materials. designed for cable conveyance; very small cross-sectional area (108 square feet [10 square meters]) References Fatalities and Injuries: 155 fatalities (152 of the total 167 Bajwa, C.S. (2004). "Fire in the Tunnel!" Radwaste Solu- passengers), injuries not tallied tions, March/April, pp. 2629. "Baltimore Train Derailment Hurts Michigan's Reserva- Synopsis tion System" (July 19, 2001). Associated Press. Lexis-Nexis Academic-Document. The cable car's rear driver's cab caught fire at the bottom of Carter, M.R., Howard, M.P., Owen, N., Register, D., the tunnel immediately after departure, causing a fire that Kennedy, J., Pecheau, K., & Newton, A. (2002). Effects of Cat- engulfed a cable train packed with skiers in a tunnel on the 2.4- astrophic Events on Transportation System Management and mile (3.9-kilometer) mountain. The fire caused the cable car Operations: Howard Street Tunnel Fire, Baltimore City, Mary- to halt 1,970 feet (0.6 kilometers) inside the tunnel. Lights went land, July 18, 2001. Final Report: Findings. Washington, D.C.: out, and initially the doors would not open. Some doors were U.S. Department of Transportation. eventually opened, but the narrow 11.8-foot (3.6-meter) width Conners, E.E. (2005). "Safety Recommendation R-04-13 left little space for evacuation. The steep (45-degree) incline and -14," National Transportation Safety Board, Washington, turned the tunnel into a chimney, blocking the escape route. DC. Available: http://www.ntsb.gov/recs/letters/2004/R04_ 13_14.pdf (Accessed Jan. 6, 2005). Analysis of Pre-Incident Information and Events Conners, E.E. (2005). "Safety Recommendation R-04-15 and -16," National Transportation Safety Board, Washington, The Kitzsteinhorn glacier, which rises to 2.4 miles (3.9 kilo- DC. Available: http://www.ntsb.gov/recs/letters/2004/R04_ meters) in the Austrian Alps, is a popular international ski 15_16.pdf (Accessed Jan. 6, 2005). resort accessed via the city of Kaprun, 50 miles (80 kilome- McGrattan, K.B., & Hamins, A. (2003). Numerical Simula- ters) southwest of Salzburg, Austria. It is a 3-hour drive from tion of the Howard Street Tunnel Fire, Baltimore, Maryland, Munich, Germany. Access to Kitzsteinhorn's ski trails is July 2001. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce. mostly via a circa 1976 funicular (i.e., cable) railway that orig- (NISTIR 6902). Available: http://www.fire.nist.gov/fds/fds03/ inates at the Kaprun Valley station, climbs the slope, and PDF/s03014.pdf (Accessed Sept. 5, 2006). enters a tunnel pass before emerging at the Kitzsteinhorn ski "Railroad Accident Brief: CSX Freight Train Derailment slopes. Access to the 2,900-inhabitant town of Kaprun is via and Subsequent Fire in the Howard Street Tunnel in Balti- one main road. The cable railway was modernized in 1994, more, Maryland, on July 18, 2001," NTSB Report Number: adding two state-of-the-art cars and ancillary technology. At RAB-04-08, adopted on 12/16/2004. http://www.ntsb.gov/ the time of the fire, the cable railway could transport about Publictn/R_Acc.htm (Accessed July 13, 2005). 1,500 people per hour up to the Alpine center on the glacier.
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27 Several other incidents occurred in Alpine tunnels or to warm gases and died inside the tunnel. The 12 people who Alpine trains prior to the Kitzsteinhorn fire. These included survived escaped the train at an early stage through a broken the 1999 Mont Blanc Road Tunnel fire that killed 41 people; window and fled downward in the tunnel. Recovery efforts a 1999 fire in the Tauern motorway tunnel that killed 12 peo- were slowed by falling rock and toxic fumes. ple and injured 50 people; and a 2000 accident in Germany in which two trains collided near the Zugspitze, injuring more Fire and Emergency Response than 60 people. After the Mont Blanc incident, inspectors vis- ited 25 of the continent's biggest road tunnels and found that A massive rescue operation was mounted with approxi- nearly a third had poor safety features. mately 13 helicopters and more than 200 emergency workers, The day of the accident--Saturday, November 11, 2000-- including teams of police, doctors, and Red Cross workers. was the first official day of the ski season. The funicular had Rescue helicopters carrying firefighters with special equip- undergone safety checks by an outsourced inspection agency ment were also flown in from Bavaria. The Red Cross assem- 2 months prior to opening day. The last inspection by the gov- bled a team of 40 psychologists to help relatives cope with ernment's Ministry of Transport had been in 1997. their grief. It took at least 3 hours to extinguish the fire, but fumes and smoke continued to emanate through the night. Rocks also Analysis of the Incident fell from the tunnel walls, hampering rescue efforts through- On November 11, 2000, the Kitzsteinhorn funicular out the incident. departed its base station in Kaprun with 167 passengers (near its 180-person capacity) and ski and snowboard gear en route Damage and Service Restoration to the Kitzsteinhorn glacier ski slopes. Before the cable car entered the 2.2-mile (3.5-kilometer)-long and 11.8-foot (3.6- The cable cars and ski lifts at Kitzsteinhorn resumed oper- meter)-wide tunnel, which had an average incline of 45 ation on December 7, 2000, but the funicular Gletscherbahn degrees, passengers and the driver noticed smoke emanating Kaprun 2 remained out of order. During the month-long clo- from the driver's cab. Although the driver reported the blaze sure, an estimated $140 million in tourist revenue and local to his base station, the train continued into the tunnel, stop- income was lost, since 80 percent of the area's jobs depend on ping 1,970 feet (600 meters) from the entrance. tourism. Upon reopening the alternative means to the ski The fire continued and the steep tunnel acted like a giant slope, revenues ran 40 percent less than prior to the funicular chimney, sucking air in from the bottom and sending toxic closing because 40 percent fewer skiers could be transported smoke billowing upwards. Despite an alarm signal and con- via alternative means. tact with the base station instructing the driver to open the The ÖBB, the Austrian Railways, received a court order on doors, the train stayed at the location with its doors sealed. December 29, 2000, to save the wreck of the destroyed cabin. Later investigation revealed that this was the immediate cause The process cost about 7 million Austrian Schillings (ATS) of death of most of the passengers. and was completed in early March 2001. The wreck was A few passengers were able to knock out the windows to shipped to a laboratory, and all aspects of the analysis were flee, but they were trapped between the fire below them and filmed for the investigation. the smoke-filled tunnel ahead of them, with no clearly Sixteen people--including cable car company officials, marked emergency exits. Of those who apparent climbed technicians, and government inspectors--were arrested and out of smashed windows and ran downhill, away from charged with criminal negligence. On February 19, 2004, the the smoke, only 12 survived. Others who fled uphill were Austrian court acquitted all 16, but prosecutors immediately overcome by smoke and fumes, most likely because of the appealed the verdicts. Lawyers for the families said they would small (approximately 108-square-foot, or 10-square-meter) continue civil proceedings in the United States and Germany, cross-sectional area. seeking millions of dollars in compensation. These cases are still pending. Fatalities and Injuries Conclusions One hundred and fifty-five fatalities were reported, 152 of whom were passengers on the funicular and 2 of whom were The official results of the investigations on the accident passengers overcome by smoke inhalation while waiting in an became known on September 6, 2001, when experts area outside the tunnel, and one who was a cable car atten- announced their belief that the fire was started by an electric dant traveling in an empty car in the opposite direction. heating ventilator illegally installed in the driver's cabin. On Those who tried to escape upwards were caught by smoke and the day of the accident, the ventilator overheated, most likely