Willard officials invoiced CSX Transportation about $28,000 to offset all city-incurred costs resulting from a train tanker oozing out a potentially poisonous and highly flammable chemical a few days before Thanksgiving.
The $28,000 represents reimbursements for city workers — including firefighters, police officers and maintenance workers — assisting CSX personnel in an all-out effort to protect community members from the hazardous materials.
CSX recently paid off the last remaining invoice, according to documents the Register obtained through a public records request.
“CSX never questioned our invoices and has followed up to make sure we have received payment,” Willard city manager Brian Humphress said. City officials continue to assess whether any public infrastructure — roads, water lines, sewer pipes and the like — sustained any damage due to the train derailment.
“We need to see what settles from the freeze and thaw before making a final determination,” Humphress said.
Company representatives vowed to pay for any and all damages from the derailment, sparing taxpayers any burden.
“CSX is committed to being a good neighbor, and we really want to thank the community for their patience during this time” company spokeswoman Carla Groleau said. “We’re committed to doing the right thing”
A chemical called styrene — an oily, colorless liquid chemical — leaked for about four hours after the initial derailment and corresponding spill. Local officials and CSX personnel rushed to notify about 400 households near the scene, urging everyone inside to evacuate the area.
Around-the-clock cleanup efforts ensued, including tests measuring Willard’s air quality.
No one died or suffered major injury from the derailment, according to reports.
In the days following, some people stayed in a makeshift shelter at an American Red Cross relief station inside Willard High School. Others stayed at hotels paid for by CSX, or with nearby family members.
Everyone eventually returned to their homes once the carnage was cleaned up and the material was removed. In the most extreme cases, some people went home several days after the spill.