MILAM COUNTY, TX — Early Tuesday morning, a plume of black smoke that could be seen for miles filled the sky after an 18-wheeler collided into the side of a train just outside of Cameron on FM 2095.
“Luckily no one was injured, no one was killed,” said Milam County Sheriff Chris White.
The Cameron Fire Department was the first to arrive on the scene and evacuated residents within a half-mile radius just before 7 o’clock Tuesday morning.
“We left, went into town had breakfast, did a couple of other things, and came back to take a look at what was going on and see if anyone knew if it was safe to come back,” said Peter Davis, a resident of the Marlow Community.
First responders across Central Texas and the Brazos Valley responded to the fire.
The Texas Department of Public Safety said southbound lights and rails were down and activated in the area. One vehicle was stopped and waiting.
According to DPS, the driver of the 18-wheeler was distracted, went around the car, hit the train and deflected the other way away from the car.
“It is still to be investigated why the driver of the truck tractor didn’t realize that the arms were down, the lights were on. At the last minute he avoided a collision with the car that was stopped, went around the car, and struck the side of one of the cars, deflecting his vehicle away from the train,” said Sgt. Bryan Washko with DPS.
Throughout the day, the community of Cameron showed their support of first responders with food and water.
“We do this for every major fire, disaster, anything, for our Cameron guys and our community. We have got donations from all over Cameron. We bring it out here, we set it up and serve it. We keep the Gatorade and water cold and the food hot,” said Marlene Spytma with the Cameron Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary.
The Cameron Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary has been providing supplies for first responders for over 30 years, but says after last week’s snowstorm, they are struggling to find enough bottled water.
“We’ve gone store to store looking for it, and we just get what we can get and we just ask people to donate if they can donate. If not, we just pay it out of our pocket,” said Marissa Freeman with the Cameron Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary.
Anyone who would like to donate to the Cameron Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary should call the Cameron Police Department at 254-697-6574.
While the major threat is over, officials are expected to use heavy foam to help with extinguishing the fire. According to BNSF, 13 out of the 110 cars derailed.
BNSF has established a claims hotline for any impacted residents. The hotline number is 1-866-243-4784.