Train derailment in Manatee County causing concern for residents and workers nearby

Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 9:58 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - A frightening scene unfolded Tuesday on the railroad tracks in the Sarasota section of Manatee County.

Five railcars carrying sheet rock and two propane tankers derailed near the 7200 block of 16th Street East. Fire officials say one of the tankers had at least 30,000 gallons of propane in it.

It was a very close call for workers at the Sunshine Tool company. Their office sits right next to where this derailment happened.

“We felt it from what everybody says, we felt it on the floor and all the way down and they knew something was wrong,” said Bonnie Perkins, a worker at Sunshine Tool. “It was almost like you had an earthquake.”

Fire officials say none of the propane leaked out from the tanker and no one was injured. The railcars and one of the tankers ended up on their sides.

“The tracks are torn up, they are definitely going to be down for awhile,” said Chief Robert Bounds with Southern Manatee Fire Rescue. “Total of probably 150 to 200 feet of track that is mangled beyond repair, so they’ll have to do a total replacement for those sections.”

It’s not known how long clean up and repairs will take. Bonnie Perkins and her co-workers are grateful, saying this could have been a lot worse.

“I do know, had that propane tank exploded, I would not be here right now and this whole building would not be here right now, had it exploded,” said Perkins.

It’s not yet known what caused this train to derail. Seminole Railways of Fort Myers is investigating.