At 1:25 p.m., on May 31, 1982, northbound Seaboard Coast Line (SCL) freight train No. 120 derailed at the Swift Creek Bridge in Colonial Heights. Virginia, following a hard run in of slack which occurred when the train transited a change in grades. The train was classified as restricted by SCL timetable designation with a maximum authorized speed of 50 mph. The engineer stated the train speed was 45 mph at the time of derailment; however, tests conducted following the accident indicate that the train speed was 64 mph when the train derailed. Cars No. 89 through No. 118 derailed. A tank car was breached in the derailment, and its contents were released and immediately ignited. No crewmembers were injured as a result of the accident, but 12 firefighters and a state emergency official collapsed during firefighting operations. Erroneous and conflicting information concerning hazardous material on the train caused confusion and resulted in misdirected emergency response efforts.