On the night of Friday 3rd to Saturday 4th, a train filled with highly toxic material went off the rails near Wetteren, the village where I work. Immediately after the accident, one of the car began to burn, soon followed by other cars.
All those who live around the railway station (a perimeter of 1,000 meter) were evacuated. The firebrigade began to fight the fire, but what they did not know was that the water they used was poisoned by the toxic waste and it came into the sewers. From there toxic gasses escaped and even though people stayed inside and did not open their doors or window, a lot of them got affected by the fumes. Up to now, there already one person died and others are still experiencing lots of problems.
The amount of fume is constantly measured by specialised services. I gather it must be something highly toxic because otherwise they wouldn't do that.
The center of the village is completely closed off now and our school can't open tomorrow - I'm glad I don't have to go. They told the inhabitants the fumes would not harm them.... You always have to be careful with what is said or claimed. Even when they'd said the center would be open once more, I'd have rung in and said I was ill. I don't want to threaten my health. It looks like there a possiblility the school won't reopen on Tuesday as well, and after that I'm free because on Wednesdag a long weekend starts.
The question is raised how safe it is to have transport of this sort. In a country so densely populated like ours, it is nearly impossible to avoid populated area's. But the safety measures should be a lot stricter and were it up to me, I'd ban such transport for good. The governments in Europe have been too lenient for era's and now we pay the price. In the 'good old days' they thought it could do no harm to ship around toxic or radioactive waste. Now we know better, but how can we change what's being done wrong?