Lt. Matthew Tiedemann, the Bergen County Office of Emergency Management coordinator, talking about the newer cars that carry Bakken crude oil at the summit for first responders. | CHRIS PEDOTA/staff photographer
New Jersey firefighters warn county officials they don’t have staff, equipment, expertise; suggest the county buy equipment and bill CSX
NorthJersey.com By SCOTT FALLON October 21, 2014
Local firefighters warned Bergen County officials on Monday that they don’t have the manpower, equipment or expertise required should there be an accident involving trains carrying millions of gallons of volatile Bakken crude oil that pass through their towns every day.
At a meeting of about 75 first responders in Hackensack, emergency officials said a coordinated countywide approach is the only way to deal with a potential derailment involving the enormous increase of trains carrying Bakken crude. The highly flammable oil has been involved in several fiery crashes throughout North America in the past year….
…… Several first responders said they need equipment like booms, large quantities of foam retardant and absorbent materials to deal with a potential fire and spill, saying it would take the county time to move that equipment if a crisis occurred.
One particular area of concern is that the oil trains cross a small bridge over the upper reaches of the Oradell Reservoir, which supplies drinking water to 750,000 people. Harrington Park Fire Marshall Tom Simpson said there was no way his volunteer fire department nor any of the ones in surrounding towns could stop thousands of gallons of oil from going into the reservoir.
"Any spill above the reservoir is going to contaminate the reservoir," said Simpson who suggested that the county buy the equipment for local towns and then bill CSX. "We don’t have the equipment to contain that much flow into the reservoir."
Bergenfield fire Capt.ain Jim Kirsch said putting the equipment near the rail line could be a bad idea. "I walk out my [firehouse] door, I walk 20 feet and I’m on the track bed," he said. "A derailment in Bergenfield means I’m probably going to have a tank car in my firehouse…. read more here