[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 125 (Friday, June 28, 2013)]
[Pages 39017-39018]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-15495]



Investigative Hearing

    On November 30, 2012, at 6:59 a.m. eastern standard time, 
southbound Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) freight train 
FC4230, consisting of 2 locomotives and 82 cars, derailed 7 cars near 
milepost 13.7 on the Conrail Penn's Grove secondary track in Paulsboro, 
New Jersey. The derailment occurred while the train crossed a movable 
bridge over Mantua Creek, resulting in 4 tank cars leaving the bridge 
and coming to rest partially submerged in Mantua Creek. As a result of 
the derailment, the coupler on one tank car punctured another tank car, 
releasing an estimated

[[Page 39018]]

180,000 pounds of liquid vinyl chloride into Mantua Creek; the vinyl 
chloride vaporized and dispersed with the prevailing winds. Primarily 
used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC), vinyl chloride is a highly 
flammable, colorless gas and a known carcinogen that may have an effect 
on the nervous system, eyes, liver, and respiratory tract through 
airborne exposure. The weather at the time was cloudy skies and calm 
winds with a temperature of 34[deg]F.
    The 911 communications center was notified of the release at 7:01 
a.m., and the first responders to the accident were members of the 
Paulsboro Fire and Police departments, assisted by hazardous materials 
specialists from a nearby refinery and the Gloucester County hazardous 
materials team. The first incident command was established about 50 
yards from the bridge but was later moved a half mile away. Evacuation 
orders were imposed by local authorities shortly after the release, but 
subsequently were replaced with shelter-in-place recommendations. About 
8 hours into the release, a unified command was established among the 
United States Coast Guard, New Jersey Department of Environmental 
Protection, Paulsboro Fire Department, and Conrail. On the morning of 
the accident, 23 local residents were treated at a nearby hospital for 
possible vinyl chloride exposure. The train conductor and numerous 
emergency responders were also tested for vinyl chloride exposure.
    The investigative hearing will discuss Conrail operations and the 
emergency response to the hazardous materials release. Specific areas 
being discussed include Conrail bridge operations, Conrail procedures, 
incident command actions and emergency response decisions in the first 
day, hazardous materials emergency response operations, roles of the 
response teams, evacuations and communications, incident response 
protocols, hazmat training, oversight of Paulsboro emergency 
preparedness, roles of local, state and Federal agencies in emergency 
hazmat response, and interaction between state and Federal agencies in 
establishing a unified command. The goals of this hearing are to gather 
additional factual information regarding the actions of the first 
responders in Paulsboro, to explore the hierarchy of New Jersey State 
and local emergency management, training, regulations and standards 
applicable to emergency response personnel, and to examine the 
oversight of the Paulsboro emergency operations.
    Parties to the hearing include the Federal Railroad Administration, 
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, United States 
Coast Guard, Conrail, Borough of Paulsboro, State of New Jersey, 
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, and the United 
Transportation Union.
    At the start of the hearing, the public docket will be opened. 
Included in the docket are photographs, interview transcripts, and 
numerous other documents.

Order of Proceedings

1. Opening Statement by the Chairman of the Board of Inquiry
2. Introduction of the Board of Inquiry and Technical Panel
3. Introduction of the Parties to the Hearing
4. Introduction of Exhibits by Hearing Officer
5. Overview of the incident and the investigation by Investigator-In-
6. Calling of Witnesses by Hearing Officer and Examination of Witness 
by Board of Inquiry, Technical Panel, and Parties
7. Closing Statement by the Chairman of the Board of Inquiry

    The accident docket is DCA13MR002.
    The Investigative Hearing will be held in the NTSB Board Room and 
Conference Center, located at 429 L'Enfant Plaza E. SW., Washington, 
DC, Tuesday, July 9, and Wednesday, July 10, 2013, beginning at 9:00 
a.m. The public can view the hearing in person or by live webcast at 
www.ntsb.gov. Webcast archives are generally available by the end of 
the next day following the hearing, and webcasts are archived for a 
period of 3 months from after the date of the event.
    Individuals requesting specific accommodations should contact Ms. 
Rochelle Hall at (202) 314-6305 or by email at [email protected] 
by Friday, July 5, 2013.
    NTSB Media Contact: Mr. Terry [email protected].
    NTSB Investigative Hearing Officer: Mr. Matthew Nicholson_
[email protected].

    Dated: June 24, 2013.
Candi R. Bing,
Federal Register Liaison Officer.
[FR Doc. 2013-15495 Filed 6-27-13; 8:45 am]