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BNSF Train Explosion Damaged Several Homes Near Cameron, Texas


Yesterday’s massive train explosion near Cameron, Texas destroyed a barn and left several homes with heat-related damage.

Fortunately, no one was killed or injured in connection with the incident.

18-Wheeler Collided with Train, Setting Off Explosion

The February 23rd explosion occurred around 6:40 a.m., just after an 18-wheeler collided with a BNSF Railroad train at a crossing located along Farm to Market Road 2095. More than a dozen tanker cars were derailed in the wreck, including three hauling coal and gasoline that exploded and caught fire.

“It sounded like a tanker, like a pressure cooker, like ‘psh ka-boom!,’” one witness living right near the train tracks, told KXAN TV. “Big giant flames at least 100 feet in the air.”

Those living near the crash scene were under a mandatory evacuation order due to the extreme heat generated by the resulting fire. However, Waco region staff monitored the air and didn’t detect any volatile or organic compounds downwind of the fire. There were no impacts to nearby bodies of water.

Both the 18-wheeler driver and the train conductor escaped the collision and explosion without injury.

Homes Near Railroad Tracks Sustained Heat Damage

The blaze did burn down a barn and left several families’ homes with heat damage.  Fortunately, all residents were evacuated without injury.

The consequences of the explosion could have been much worse, as several tanker cars at the rear of the train were hauling hazardous materials. Those cars did not derail and remained out of reach of the fire.

“BNSF showed up pretty quick and disconnected and moved the hazardous cargo out of range of the fire,” said Milam County Sheriff Chris White. “The train was carrying in the front compartments coal and gasoline and so that’s what caused the huge fire and all the smoke.”

Cameron Railroad Crossing Lacks Advanced Warning Signals

According to federal records, the pavement at the crossing where yesterday’s explosion occurred is marked with stop signs and railroad crossing signs. The crossing itself is equipped with signals and two gate arms with flashing lights and bells. However, the crossing lacks advanced warning signals or stop signs.

In 2019, the crossing averaged 16 trains per day and 16 trains per night. Four crashes have occurred there since 1984, including another involving an 18-wheeler on May 18, 2016. A train also hit a pickup truck on July 2nd of that same year. No one was injured and no hazardous materials were involved in either incident.

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