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Accident Investigations

Tank-Car Breach, Hazardous Material Release

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  • Accident No: DCA16SH002
  • Accident Type: Office of Railroad
  • Location: New Martinsville, WV
  • Date: 8/27/2016

​The National Transportation Safety Board launched a team to investigate the breach of a rail tank-car and subsequent release of 17,000 gallons of chlorine on August 27, 2016 at a facility in New Martinsville, West Virginia.

Initial information received by the NTSB about the accident characterized the event as a hazardous materials release only. As more information became available the agency learned that the shell of the rail tank-car breached, prompting the dispatch of three investigators to the scene.

NTSB Senior Hazmat Investigator, Paul Stancil has been designated as the Investigator-in-Charge. The on-scene team are experts in hazardous materials and metallurgy. Parties to the investigation are the Axiall Corporation (the tank-car owner) and the Federal Railroad Administration. The NTSB’s team has examined the tank-car, gathered relevant documents and interviewed personnel involved in the loading of the tank-car.

The on-scene phase of the investigation continues and the team’s planned operations include:

  • Interviewing plant personnel
  • Reviewing tank-car loading procedures;
  • Collecting relevant documentation;
  • Conducting tank-car damage assessment;
  • Identifying materials to be removed for metallurgical examination; and
  • Shipping the fractured section of the tank-car to NTSB headquarters in Washington for metallurgical examination.

Updates regarding the NTSB’s investigation will be made as developments warrant.


10/17/2016 - Preliminary Report

Contact: NTSB Media Relations
Terry Williams
(202) 314-6100