Paulsboro Officials Fire Back At NTSB Criticism - New York News

Paulsboro Officials Fire Back At NTSB Criticism On Train Derailment

Posted: Updated:
Paulsboro Police Chief Chris Wachter talks to FOX 29's Dave Schratwieser Paulsboro Police Chief Chris Wachter talks to FOX 29's Dave Schratwieser
NTSB criticism of local response NTSB criticism of local response
PAULSBORO, N.J. -

"Unfair and unwarranted."

That was Paulsboro Police Chief Chris Wachter firing back at federal investigators after the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) claimed that local officials may have done more harm than good when a train derailed in New Jersey last November.

"Federal investigators are saying that; federal government at its best," said Chief Wachter. "We did what we thought we had to do at the moment. It unfolded very quickly."

The NTSB said that Paulsboro officials didn't follow safety standards for handling a chemical spill, compounding first responders and the public's exposure to the 23,000 gallons of vinyl chloride that leaked from the derailed freight train.

"Once we realized what we had is when we started to make the other precautionary measures, sheltering in place, moving people in and out trying to lock everything down," Wachter responded.

"No one should criticize them," said Paulsboro resident Janice Callahan. "They did what they thought was best, but they didn't have the correct information." When asked who she blames, "It's Conrail," she said.

Paulsboro residents defended local authorities and first responders, but the NTSB claims that they set up a command post too close to the spill hot zone. That first responders should have been wearing breathing apparatus and that local residents should have been evacuated, not told to stay indoors.

"They weren't here. They don't know," Wachter said. "They can say what they want to say. We know we did what was appropriate for the community."

"The NTSB has requested that we don't comment on that so we're adhering to that," said Conrail spokesman Kirk Dorn.

While Conrail wouldn't comment, 24 local first responders have filed suit against the rail company since the spill. Claiming they suffer from headaches, breathing and neurological problems.

"We just hope to finally get some answers; just finally get to the bottom of this," Danielle Doran told FOX 29. She lives a few hundred yards from the derailment site. "I'm concerned about our health, we have children, concerned for their health nobody knows what's going to happen in the future."

"You can always do things better, always do things a little cleaner, always a little faster. You take these opportunities to learn," Wachter added.

Chief Wachter said local officials want to know exactly what happened leading up to the derailment and when or if Conrail plans to replace the bridge where the derailment occurred.

Wachter said he and all of his officers who responded to the scene have undergone medical testing, just in case any symptoms develop in the future.

The NTSB hearings will continue on Wednesday.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • NYPD Twitter hashtag backfires

    NYPD Twitter hashtag backfires

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:23 AM EDT2014-04-23 10:23:11 GMT
    A NYPD plan intended to better connect with the community seems to have backfired a bit. The police department asked its twitter followers to share pictures of themselves with New York City police officers using the hashtag "myNYPD." Some did share nice pictures, but others not so much.Some of the first pictures posted showed regular citizens standing with very friendly looking police officers.
    A NYPD plan intended to better connect with the community seems to have backfired a bit. The police department asked its twitter followers to share pictures of themselves with New York City police officers using the hashtag "myNYPD." Some did share nice pictures, but others not so much.Some of the first pictures posted showed regular citizens standing with very friendly looking police officers.
  • Caesars enters New York casino competition

    Caesars enters New York casino competition

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 10:52 PM EDT2014-04-23 02:52:22 GMT
    Caesars Entertainment entered the competition to open a casino in upstate New York on Tuesday with a proposal to build a $750 million complex 50 miles north of New York City. The complex would include a casino, a hotel and a meeting space and would be located in Woodbury, in Orange County. The Las Vegas-based Caesars, which operates 52 casinos around the world, has submitted a $1 million casino license application fee to state gambling regulators.
    Caesars Entertainment entered the competition to open a casino in upstate New York on Tuesday with a proposal to build a $750 million complex 50 miles north of New York City. The complex would include a casino, a hotel and a meeting space and would be located in Woodbury, in Orange County. The Las Vegas-based Caesars, which operates 52 casinos around the world, has submitted a $1 million casino license application fee to state gambling regulators.
  • Hoax 'swatting' call sends dozens of cops to LI home

    Hoax 'swatting' call sends dozens of cops to LI home

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 10:43 PM EDT2014-04-23 02:43:53 GMT
    Heavily armed police officers descended on a home in Long Beach, Long Island, Tuesday afternoon thinking they might find a grisly murder scene. Instead they found a terrified woman who had no clue what they were talking about and her teenaged son playing video games. "We received a phone call from a gentleman who stated he had just shot his mother and his brother," Long Beach Police Commissioner Michael Tangney said. "Unfortunately, this is a terrible national problem for law enforcement."
    Heavily armed police officers descended on a home in Long Beach, Long Island, Tuesday afternoon thinking they might find a grisly murder scene. Instead they found a terrified woman who had no clue what they were talking about and her teenaged son playing video games. "We received a phone call from a gentleman who stated he had just shot his mother and his brother," Long Beach Police Commissioner Michael Tangney said. "Unfortunately, this is a terrible national problem for law enforcement."
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices