Impact of derailed train sweeps Atlanta man "clear out of his ho - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Impact of derailed train sweeps Atlanta man "clear out of his house"

Source: WGCL Source: WGCL
ATLANTA (CBS46) -

A 45-year-old retired Marine is lucky to be alive after a derailed train smashed into the back of his home as he was sleeping early Thursday morning.

The crash happened at about 3 a.m. as the CSX train was traveling through the Hunter Hills neighborhood just west of downtown Atlanta.

Fourteen of the train's 190 rail cars somehow came off the tracks, causing at least one of the rail cars to smash into the back of Deangelo Rivers' newly remodeled home, located on Andrews Street alongside the train tracks.

Sisters Savonia Campbell and Apryl Stinson live across the street. They told CBS46 News the impact was like nothing they’d had ever experienced.

“I thought it was an earthquake," said Campbell. When I came out, I saw the train, and I could see the sparks and everything coming from the train. It was so crazy.”

Stinson called 911 when she heard Rivers yelling for help. Initially, it was so dark outside, she couldn't locate Rivers.

“I told them, ‘Send everybody because a train just went through this man’s house.’” Stinson said.

Some men who live nearby located the man inside one of the train cars. That's when they realized the impact of the train car plowing through Rivers' house had swept him "clear out of his house."

"He said, ‘Hold on,’ because he heard me and my sister’s voice, and he was butt naked," said Stinson, "so the neighbors went and got him some jeans, and they climbed in there and helped him get up out of there real quick.”

Medics rushed Rivers to the hospital. Amazingly, his only injury was to his leg.

Campbell said she's anxious to hear what caused the train to derail. But in the meantime, she's thankful Rivers survived.

“I know he believes in God," she said, "because it’s a miracle.”

Because of the length of the derailed train, several streets in the area are blocked off, and officials said it could be quite some time before the crash is cleared and the roadways are reopened.

The affected roadways are listed below:

  • Andrews Street at McClure Avenue
  • Andrews Street at Eason Street
  • Joseph E. Boone Boulevard at Mayson Turner Road
  • Chappel Road at Eason Street

Federal investigators were at the scene by mid-day Thursday as CSX workers hurried to remove the derailed train cars and repair the tracks.

A spokesman for CSX issued the following statement:

At approximately 3 a.m. today, a northbound CSX freight train derailed 14 railcars near the 1300 block Andrew Street NW in Atlanta, Ga. A nearby residence was struck by the derailed train and one person was transported to a local hospital for medical treatment. There are no reports of any leaks or spills of freight from the train. CSX personnel continue working with Atlanta police to ensure the safety of the public while developing a plan to remove the derailed cars and restore the scene.

The CSX train was traveling from Waycross, Ga., to Cincinnati, Ohio, with three locomotives, 68 loaded railcars and 123 empty railcars, carrying a variety of freight including sand, carbon black (used in tire manufacturing), and other bulk materials.

The cause of the incident will be investigated as part of the recovery effort.

Safety is CSX’s highest priority and our goal is zero accidents. CSX works hard to ensure that every load of freight is delivered safely it to its intended destination, and when incidents like this do occur, we apply any lessons learned from the event to improve the safety of future operations.

We will keep you apprised of any updated information that becomes available.

Stay with CBS46 News for updates.

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