|Photo courtesy the Spokesman-Review|
Two to three oil trains a day travel through the area on over a mile of elevated train tracks that run right through downtown Spokane. An article in today’s Spokesman-Review says the proximity of the tracks to Spokane’s most densely populated area makes downtown particularly vulnerable in the event of an oil train derailment.
A hazardous materials and emergency planning consultant for the city of Spokane testified last week before the state’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, which is reviewing a proposed oil terminal in Vancouver, Washington. If built, the terminal could mean up to four additional oil trains daily through Spokane.
The Spokane Fire Department and mutual aid crews might be able to control a derailment in sparsely populated areas of the city but a downtown derailment would pose “extreme challenges. There is a lot more to this story at the link above.