Reactions to NTSB's Graniteville Accident Report

By: Kate Tillotson
By: Kate Tillotson

November 16, 2005
In a new report released by the National Transportation Safety Board, we hear what went wrong on a fatal day in Graniteville. Among the statements are pictures of emergency responders measuring the hole in a train car leaking chlorine. News 12 is on your side with who’s to blame and how those in Graniteville are taking the news.

“It always happens somewhere else but it finally happened here,” said Allen Hudson, evacuee.

They’re pictures Allen Hudson sees in his head every night before falling asleep.

“This is awful, this is a tragedy, to the family and to the community,” Hudson said.

His family was among the 5,000 forced to evacuate after January’s train wreck and chemical spill. On this quiet night and eleven months later, he still remembers.

“I mainly wanted to run down there to see if anybody was hurt. You know, when that stuff hits you there’s no air at all,” Hudson said.

Close to a year after the collision, the National Transportation Safety Board has released a 300-page report. In it are statements from an engineer, conductor and brake man who say they may have forgotten to flip a board switch. According to the brake man, he had it in mind he was going to do it, but that he isn’t 100 percent sure he did. The conductor says, ‘I should have done a briefing to ensure that the switch was lined back, I probably should have.’

“I don’t think there’s been a lot of truth told to us through the whole thing. Accidents happen, you know, I realize it was an accident. I’m sure nobody wanted it to happen,” said Tom Heider, lives near tracks.

“They know what’s coming through there, they know they have that stuff everyday. If they’re gonna haul it, they need to be prepared to suffer the consequences if something goes wrong,” Hudson said.

An obligation Allen hopes the railroad lives up to after something went terribly wrong just a couple hundred feet from his home.

“I mean, it’s just unbelievable. If you lived through it you never would have dreamed it,” Hudson said.

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