Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Amtrak Train Collides With Dump Trunk in Maine

An Amtrak train smashed into a tractor-trailer Monday, killing the truck driver and injuring at least four others in an detonation that sent flames more than three stories high, a onlooker and officials said.
None of the train's 112 passengers or two squad members suffered life-threatening injuries. The truck driver, whose identity wasn't right away released, was carrying trash to a landfill when he collided with the train about 11 a.m. in North Berwick, about 40 miles south of Portland.

Tom Gorski, who works in a building 50 yards from the junction, said he heard the imminent locomotive, then a enormous boom that shook the building.

He said he ran to the scene, where the truck's cab was split with half on each side of the tracks. The ground was besieged with trash from the tractor-trailer.

"It looked like someone dropped a bomb. The flames were shooting higher than a three-story house," said Gorski. "It brings tears to your eyes."

There were skid marks on the road foremost to the impact, suggesting the driver was trying to stop, Gorski said.

After the impact, the northbound train dragged the truck's cab about 200 yards, then the train continued on ahead of coming to a stop, said Deputy Fire Chief Larry Straffin.

The train's engineer hopped off the locomotive and estranged the burning engine from the passenger cars to keep the flames from spreading, Straffin said. Firefighters had to drag hose down the train tracks to drench the fire to the locomotive, he said.

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