TOWN OF RIPLEY, NY - Cleanup continues in Ripley on Wednesday following Tuesday's nights train derailment.
About 45 homes were evacuated a nearby church, and those residents will be allowed to return home Wednesday night around 10 p.m.
The Chautauqua County Emergency Services director says 16 cars of a Norfolk Southern train derailed around 9:45 p.m. near Shaver Street and State Street in the Town of Ripley. There was no fire, but three of the cars were carrying hazardous liquids. Two were carrying ethanol, and the third was carrying propane.
"We're very, very fortunate that we had no loss of life, no fire," said County Executive Vince Horrigan.
Crews from several departments worked with HAZMAT teams to spray a special spray foam to contain the leak which was flowing at about a gallon per minute. At around 4:30 a.m., firefighters on the scene said the leak had been contained, but they acknowledge there was a loss of between 10,000 and 15,000 gallons of product.
"We damned up and protected the waterways into Lake Erie, and were able to contain the spill," said Ripley Fire Chief Mark Smith.
The Coast Guard will continue to monitor the water as a precaution.
Ripley Town Supervisor Douglas Bowen said Shaver Street at the railroad will be closed for the next several days while crews replace the control signals, which were wiped out in the wreck.
Ripley schools canceled classes Wednesday.
Senator Charles Schumer released the following statement regarding the train derailment:
My hat is off to the brave and professional first responders who worked tirelessly all night to keep the community safe following the derailment. While we do not yet know the cause of the derailment in Ripley, situations like this serve as a glaring reminder that we must remain vigilant in making continual and meaningful improvements to rail safety and hazardous response planning. Increased railroad inspections, improved coordination and communication with local first responders, and technological improvements in rail car and track design can often make the world of difference in preventing tragedy. In the coming days and weeks, I’ll work closely with the Federal Railroad Administration and local officials to fully investigate the cause of this accident and ensure everything possible is done to improve rail safety throughout Upstate New York.