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'It could have been a lot worse': Glendale train derailment has residents concerned

Residents in Glendale say that it's not a question of if, but when the next derailment happens, and how bad it will be.

GLENDALE, Ky. — Residents in Glendale are already thinking about what the next train derailment will look like, while CSX crews continue to pick up the wreckage from the latest crash.

"This is a heavy train area. I mean this is the big stuff that comes through Glendale," Mark Cooke said. Cooke is a 4th generation member of the Glendale community.

He's lived just a few houses down from the tracks for the last 37 years. He says in that time he's seen semi after semi get caught in the crossing, leading to crashes like this one.

"What's most concerning is there's a lot of people who aren't taking this seriously," Cooke said. "As a citizen you just try to speak out and try to get somebody to listen because these kinds of changes for safety have to occur at a higher level."

Cooke said that he and other community members expressed their concerns to local and state officials at a community meeting about building a bypass around Glendale just a few weeks ago.

"There are some liquid tankers that come through here from time to time, yesterday just happened to be all cars, but what if those had been chemicals that are toxic or flammable because they run those through here all the time," Cooke said.

He's concerned that unless something is done the next train derailment might look more like the chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio.

"[My wife and I] had already talked about this. If we ever had a derailment again like we were anticipating because of everything getting stuck, I said get in the car and get out of town," Cooke said. "Don't look for smoke or smells and other things. You know everybody goes to see all that disaster up in East Palestine, so we can only imagine that could occur here."

CSX officials sent out a statement Thursday evening saying that there were no hazardous materials on the train and that safety for their crews and for the community are the top priority during this clean up process.

You can read the full statement from CSX here:

CSX continues working to restore the site where a train derailed Thursday afternoon while stopping to avoid a semi-truck and trailer that was stuck on a crossing in Glendale, KY. Overnight, crews moved all derailed cars to a staging area so that track repairs could begin and train service resumed. CSX confirmed a total of 21 railcars containing automobiles derailed. Recovery efforts will continue until the area is fully cleared and restored. We have contacted property owners affected by the incident and are working with them. CSX appreciates the swift, professional response of local first responders.

Cooke says he wants to see action taken by state and local officials before someone is seriously injured in one of these derailments.

"It could have been a lot worse," he said. "It could have been a whole lot worse. And we don't want anybody, we don't want lives taken in this process just to, just so somebody will finally listen." 

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