Cleanup continues 1 month after train derailment in Cramerton

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CRAMERTON, N.C. - Every day for a month, Jack Cloninger has stepped outside to see the mess from a near-disaster.

“Right there is where they really started coming off of the rails,” Cloninger said.

He saw the smashed cars just after a train derailment on Aug. 6 in Cramerton. He didn't think they would still be there today.

“I'm about 50 yards from it,” Cloninger said.

The cars marked phosphoric acid are still on their side. He was forced from his home before crews learned the tanks were empty, but the question still lingers: What caused the train to derail?

“You would like to know what did cause it,” Cloninger said.

“They should have given us an answer by now,” said neighbor Wendy Stewart.

Stewart lives about a block away, and said she worries when she sees trains come down the tracks.

“What would happen if something were in it next time?” she said.

Norfolk Southern said the containers can absorb a derailment without a breach. Spokesman Robin Chapman said it could take months of laboratory testing on the old rails and containers before they know what caused the derailment.

He said the new rails have been inspected to make sure they are safe.

“We put the highest priority on the communities we run through,” Chapman said.

Chapman said the rail company has a cleanup crew that has cleared most of the mess, but they have not been available to finish the job. He believes they will be back next week.

The people Eyewitness News talked to Friday are not considering moving because of the derailment, but they said they would feel safer if they knew exactly what caused this.