Potential of crude oil disaster stays in forefront of officials' mind

By WKTV News

(WKTV) - About 100 rail cars full of crude oil roll through the area each day.

And after Wednesday's CSX derailment in Virginia, Herkimer County Emergency Management Agency Director Bob Vandawalker says he knew what a good idea it was to have already been working on putting a crude oil disaster plan in place -- in case such an incident ever happened here.

"We've been working with Oneida County, Utica and Rome with hazardous materials, trying to join together to have one general team, and we actually are talking about meeting and having one plan for crude oil for both counties," Vandawalker said.

Utica Fire Chief Russell Brooks says there is a plan in place to respond to such a disaster, should one occur in the city.

"The first thing you would quickly realize is that you would not have the resources to handle an incident like and mitigate it, so the first thing you would do is set up an isolation zone," Brooks said.

According to Vandawalker, after a similar incident in January in Canada, Gov. Andrew Cuomo mandated all counties have a crude oil railroad disaster plan in place.



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