Paulsboro Officials Fire Back At NTSB Criticism - Philadelphia News, Weather and Sports from WTXF FOX 29

Paulsboro Officials Fire Back At NTSB Criticism On Train Derailment

Posted: Updated:
Paulsboro Police Chief Chris Wachter talks to FOX 29's Dave Schratwieser Paulsboro Police Chief Chris Wachter talks to FOX 29's Dave Schratwieser
NTSB criticism of local response NTSB criticism of local response
PAULSBORO, N.J. -

"Unfair and unwarranted."

That was Paulsboro Police Chief Chris Wachter firing back at federal investigators after the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) claimed that local officials may have done more harm than good when a train derailed in New Jersey last November.

"Federal investigators are saying that; federal government at its best," said Chief Wachter. "We did what we thought we had to do at the moment. It unfolded very quickly."

The NTSB said that Paulsboro officials didn't follow safety standards for handling a chemical spill, compounding first responders and the public's exposure to the 23,000 gallons of vinyl chloride that leaked from the derailed freight train.

"Once we realized what we had is when we started to make the other precautionary measures, sheltering in place, moving people in and out trying to lock everything down," Wachter responded.

"No one should criticize them," said Paulsboro resident Janice Callahan. "They did what they thought was best, but they didn't have the correct information." When asked who she blames, "It's Conrail," she said.

Paulsboro residents defended local authorities and first responders, but the NTSB claims that they set up a command post too close to the spill hot zone. That first responders should have been wearing breathing apparatus and that local residents should have been evacuated, not told to stay indoors.

"They weren't here. They don't know," Wachter said. "They can say what they want to say. We know we did what was appropriate for the community."

"The NTSB has requested that we don't comment on that so we're adhering to that," said Conrail spokesman Kirk Dorn.

While Conrail wouldn't comment, 24 local first responders have filed suit against the rail company since the spill. Claiming they suffer from headaches, breathing and neurological problems.

"We just hope to finally get some answers; just finally get to the bottom of this," Danielle Doran told FOX 29. She lives a few hundred yards from the derailment site. "I'm concerned about our health, we have children, concerned for their health nobody knows what's going to happen in the future."

"You can always do things better, always do things a little cleaner, always a little faster. You take these opportunities to learn," Wachter added.

Chief Wachter said local officials want to know exactly what happened leading up to the derailment and when or if Conrail plans to replace the bridge where the derailment occurred.

Wachter said he and all of his officers who responded to the scene have undergone medical testing, just in case any symptoms develop in the future.

The NTSB hearings will continue on Wednesday.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Only On Fox: Arsonist On The Loose In South Jersey Town

    Only On Fox: Arsonist On The Loose In South Jersey Town

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 4:45 PM EDT2014-04-16 20:45:07 GMT
    It started with a brush fire, then another fire at the rear of this home on Monroe Street and finally a blaze that swept through this vacant home up the block, just a few feet away from where Emma Sethman
    It started with a brush fire, then another fire at the rear of this home on Monroe Street and finally a blaze that swept through this vacant home up the block, just a few feet away from where Emma Sethman
  • Man Killed in Monroe Township Skydiving Accident

    Man Killed in Monroe Township Skydiving Accident

    Man Killed in Monroe Township Skydiving Accident

    Monday, April 21 2014 12:29 AM EDT2014-04-21 04:29:13 GMT
    A person was injuredafter askydiving accident in Gloucester, Washington Township on Sunday afternoon.Police say the parachute did not open. The person landed on Tuckahoe Road right across from the United Artists movie theatre, which is about a half mile from Cross Keys Airport.Police are currently on the scene still investigating.Stay with Fox 29 for any updates on this story.
    A person was injuredafter askydiving accident in Gloucester, Washington Township on Sunday afternoon.Police say the parachute did not open. The person landed on Tuckahoe Road right across from the United Artists movie theatre, which is about a half mile from Cross Keys Airport.Police are currently on the scene still investigating.Stay with Fox 29 for any updates on this story.
  • Campus Police: Sexual Assault Reported At West Chester University

    Campus Police: Sexual Assault Reported At West Chester University

    Campus Police: Sexual Assault Reported At West Chester University

    Monday, April 21 2014 12:24 AM EDT2014-04-21 04:24:21 GMT
    Students and parents are on edge after a sexual assault was reported to the University Department of Public Safety on Saturday, April 19th at 2:28 a.m.According to campus police, the assault occurred in a residence on campus. Police say the victim did not know the attacker."It's kind of scary because obviously it shouldn't be happening," student Kate Luff said. "There's security guards so I mean they had to have gotten signed in or lived in the building."Other studentsare just as shocked."Tha...
    Students and parents are on edge after a sexual assault was reported to the University Department of Public Safety on Saturday, April 19th at 2:28 a.m.According to campus police, the assault occurred in a residence on campus. Police say the victim did not know the attacker."It's kind of scary because obviously it shouldn't be happening," student Kate Luff said. "There's security guards so I mean they had to have gotten signed in or lived in the building."Other studentsare just as shocked."Tha...
Powered by WorldNow

WTXF-TV
330 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106-2796

Phone: (215) 925-2929
Fax: (215) 982-5494

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices