Newspaper Archive of
The Hinton News
Hinton, West Virginia
March 12, 1991     The Hinton News
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March 12, 1991

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/ 00TheHIN NNEI00S n o rne o f 00tile 'W'2 V Wate/00F es t iv a 1 Volume 89 No. 46 Hinton, West Virginia Tuesday March 12, 1991 25 Cents w 3 Injured as Train Slams Into 100' Rock Slide By Fred Long =This mightbe the end," J. Melvin Frostf' Plumley said raced through his mind seconds before his 2-en- gine, 81-car manifest train slammed into a 100 foot rock slide on Hinton's East Yard, Wednesday, causing the .. engine to jump the tracks and turn "on its side leaving Plumley trapped in the wreckage for 2 hours and 5 minutes andinjuring two other men. The train's engineer, Shirley Epperly, the conductor, M. T. Montgomery ,nd Plumley, the brakeman, each suffered from inju- ries caused in the 3:37 pm derail- ment that came only 7 minutes after rocks began falling from the 80 foot embankment. =We came around the curve and saw this rock slide bigger then our engine," Plumley said. "Shirley yelled 'hold on' and put the train in emergency turning on the brakes. I opened the door and started to jump but we were going too fast and I closed the door and got on my knees and braced myself for the impact. We hit the rocks and started to turn over. It was sort oflike slow motion. The rocks were comi ngin on top of us and my feet went under the seat and it folded up on them. I thought my feet wereeompletelyeruehed. I was in terrible pain." Epperly managed to get on the radio and call the accident in and was able to climb out of the engine; however, Montgomery was also trapped by one foot'that was pinned under the seat, Plumley said. Epperly and Montgomery were both treated at the Summers County Hospital and released. Plumley was flown by a Health-Net helicopter to Raleigh General Hospital where he was treated and released. "We were very, very lucky," Plumley said last night while rest- ing, almost in a reclined position, on a couch in the front room of his parents home in Avis. Both ankles are swollen twice its normal size with large bags of ice around them in an effort to reduce the swelling and relieve some of the phin. Until the swelling goes down, Plumley said, doctors will be unable to determine the extent ofhis injuries. "Both are sprained and sore, maybe some liga- ments torn. They can't see that in an x-ray. All I know is nothing is bro- ken ." Hinton firemen were dispatched to the scene moments after the acci- dent and when arriving were blocked from the derailment by three other trains that were standing on the tracks between the Greenbrier River and the accident, said Steve Pack, Director of Emergency Services. Pack an d Fireman Joe Adki n s passed between the trains to get to the toppled engine. =It was an awesome sight to see one of those gigantic engines on its side," Pack said. Each engine holds 3,000 gallons of diesel full, he said, and =we were looking at the poten- tial of 6,000 gallons of diesel fuel and our biggest concern at that time was that these engines have 440 volts running through them." The fuel switch was still on and Pack sadd CSXengineer Kent Bartgis climbed in the engine, turned the switch off and pulled the main breaker fuses. His actions, Pack said, "contributed immeasurably" to the operation by eliminating the danger of an electrical spark that could have set the fuel on fire. "The biggest thing that I was "afraid of," Plumley said, "is that everything would catch on fire." At the same time rocks were still falling from the hillside, Pack said. "We didn't know if in the next five seconds the whole hill side would come down crashing on us.  Joe Adkins, Roger Williams and David Light went into the engine and began working to free the two men, and in the meantime CSX Transportation began cutting the trains that blocked the way. "CSX was very helpful in getting these, trains out of the way,  Pack said. "Getting these trains cut so we could get ouT'equipment in wasthe big thing. They were Johnny-on. the-spot.  Inside the cab with the trapped men were rocks the si ze of suitcases, Health Department Services Eliminations/Reductions Due to budget cuts it has become necessary to ELIMINATE the fol- lowing services at the Summers County Health Department, effec- tive dates as indicated: 1) Pap Smear & Breast Examina- tion EFFECTIVE: Apr. I. 2) Blood Sugar, Blood Pressure, and Hemoglobins EFFECTIVE: Apr. 1. 3) Private Water Samples - EFFECTIVE: Immediately. Failed Drainfields Assistance Available Financial and technical assistance is now available for Summers County families and individuals living in homes with failing septic tanks to replace them with experimental individual on-sits constructed wet- lands, according to Steve Trail, County Sanitarian who is working as a visiting WV University exten- sion professor for the project. Individuals on-site constructed wetlands, now in use in Louisiana and Arkansas, have been used to replace failing septic tank drainfields with shallow gravel beds in which bulrushes and cattails are grown. In these experimental systems, bacte. ria, which grow naturally within the roots of these plants are used to purify the septic tank discharge so that it can be safely released into nearby streams without problems of odor or pollution, he said. accessible to a paved road to facili- tate construction and monitoring. The family must be willing to cooperate with the project, agree to use the water saving plumbing fLX- tures which will be provided as a part of this grant and allow occa- sional entry upon the property for the collection ofwastewater samples and visits from persons interested in seeing the wetlands. All visits to the site will be, as far as possible, sched- uled in advance and at the conven- ience of the resident. Residents must meet moderate income limitations: One person, $14,200; two people, $16,200; three, $18,200; four, $20,250; five, $21,500; six, $22,800; seven, $24,050; eight, $25,300. Persons interested in participat- ing in the project are asked to con- tact Steve Trail at 466-3388. The following services will be REDUCED, effective Apr. 1: Immunization/rB skin testing will be held once monthly. ( APRIL 1, MAY 6, and JUNE 3). It is with deep regret that we have been forced, due to lack of funds, to eliminate and reduce these services. It is hoped that July 1, we will be able to reinstate the above men- tioned, much needed, services. If you have any questions, please call 466 - 3388. Anderson Named To NCAL W. Va. Senator Leonard W. An- derson has been named as a member of the Agriculture and International Trade Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCAL). The committee is one of eleven standing committees of NCAL's State-Federal Assembly (SFA), NCSL's policymakingbody.The SFA is responsible for the Conferenos's lobbyingefforts before Congress, the , White House and federal agencies. The SFA convenes three times a year to meet with federal officials and develop recommendations on a Continued on page 8 Utilizing a State/Hud Small Cit- ies Grant, the Summers County Commissioners, working with the Region I Planning and Development Council, will install four of these experimental systems at sites within Summers County at no cest or obli- gation to the homeowner or renter. County residents receiving these systems must agree to take reason- able care of them and meet moder- ate income criteria required to re- ceive federal funding assistance. To be eligible, Trail said, the home must be an existing, owner or renter occupied residence in which a septic tank and drain field has either been installed and failed or has never been installed. The sits must contain a fiat open area of at least 300 square feet or more with good drainage and ade- quate sun exposure, be near a sea. sonal or year round flowing stream not subject to seasonal flooding and PSD PLAN RELEASED The Public Service Commission today announced the release of the Summers County PSD Plan. The Plan has been submitted to the Summers County aCommission for their review. Under W. Va. law, a study of each public service district is required. Studies are county-wide and to in- clude all public service districts. The primary goal in the prepara- tion of County Plans is to achieve and maintain efficiency of opera- tions. Information is compiled and analyzed on each public service dis- trict in an effort to sort out problem areas. Poasible steps for improve- ment are then outlined. After all information has been carefully re- viewed, a Plan is formulated in rela- tion to the creation, consolidation, inerger, expansion or dissolution of a public service district. Plans are developed in the best interest of the public, taking into consideration cost-effectivenese, current technol- ogy and feasibility. The Summers County Commis- sion, by law, has six months from date of receipt, to solicit comments from its public service districts. Any proposed modifications should be made at this time. The Public Service Commission Staffhas recommended to the Sum- mers County Commission that the public service districts of Big Bend, Jumping Branch-Nimitz and Meadow Creek remain in their pres- ent form of operation. Any revisions necessary to this Plan will be made as additional information becomes available. Pack said. "How in the world they got through this is a miracle. We were assuming the worse and I called for assistance." The Beaver Volun- teer Fire Department answered the call. "They responded will and it was great that they dame." After freeing Montgomery the firemen tegan working to free Plumley and at 5:40 phlled him from the wreck, Pack said. =I appreciate everyone that helped," Plumley said. Joe Adkins worked like a dog. He didn't stop and he knew exactly what to do. We have some really good people on our fire department and rm thankful we have them.  Pack said if it were not for the experience that the firemen have in rescue operations this rescue would not have gone as smoothly. "You can't train for something like this," he said. "You only gain this type of proficiency after years and years of experience. You just don't go out and tear a train apart everyday." After working for over two hours members of the "Jaws of Life," managed to free Plumley from the HintonFireDepartmentpulledJ.Melvin"Frosty" twisted metal that had him pinned inside the Plumley from the wreckage ofa CSX engine that overturned engine. Shirley Epperly and M. T. overturned, Wednesday, after slamming into a Montgomery were also injured in the freak acei- 100 foot rock slide at the east end of East Yard in dent. All received treatment at a hospital and Hinton. Fireman Joe Adkins, front left, using the have been released. Above: Tons of earth and rock came crashing down on CSX Transportation railing Wednesday afternoon covering the tracks and causing a westbound two-engine, 81-car manifest to over- turn trapping three men inside. CSX began cleanup operations that night and Thursday. Below: The overturned engine where Hinton Police Chief John Plumley'e father was trapped for over two hours. John Plumley is standing on the ground, third from the left. ::;:;:;: :