wjz-13 all-news-99-1-wnew 1057-the-fan 1300logo2_67x35

Local

Massive Changes Since Tunnel Fire 10 Years Ago

View Comments
tunnel fire

Get Breaking News First

Receive News, Politics, and Entertainment Headlines Each Morning.
Sign Up
Popular Entertainment Photo Galleries

POEts: The Legendary, The Celebrity, The Local, The ControversialPOEts: The Legendary, The Celebrity, The Local, The Controversial

Celebrities Born Outside The U.S.Celebrities Born Outside The U.S.

Top Celebrities On TwitterTop Celebrities On Twitter

Ranking Stephen KingRanking Stephen King

Famous Women Who Underwent Double MastectomiesFamous Women Who Underwent Double Mastectomies

» More Photo Galleries

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Ten years ago Monday, a train derailment triggered fear and flames in downtown Baltimore.  The Howard Street tunnel fire led to major changes in the way first responders would handle a similar crisis.

Adam May takes us behind-the-scenes of a detailed training exercise.

More than 20 emergency response agencies run through numerous disaster scenarios involving a train derailment and hazardous materials.  The drill is a direct result of the 2001 Howard Street tunnel fire.

“I was a new firefighter so I was scared,” said Bob Maloney, who is now Baltimore’s emergency management director.

The derailment triggered a dangerous chemical fire that burned for six days, shut down parts of the city and left firefighters puzzled, wondering what was burning and how to put it out.

Drills like the one held Monday were not happening 10 years ago.

“Absolutely not.  Not on the frequency or level of intensity, no way,” said Maloney.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says the city is much better prepared.

“We’ve learned what not to do.  We’ve learned who needs to be at the table to get it right and we’ve learned open communications and partnership will keep the public safe,” Rawlings-Blake said.

Five years after the disaster, CSX paid Baltimore City $2 million to settle a lawsuit over fire-related expenses.  A spokesman for the train company says they’ve also improved safety and training.

“We invest a lot of time and energy and money in making sure those lines are safe,” said Bob Sullivan.

The Howard Street tunnel is more than 100 years old.  Replacing it could cost more than $1 billion.

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus