At about 1:15 a.m. July 16, a train crash occurred in the city of Hays near the Vine Street railroad crossing.
First-arriving police officers, firefighters and paramedics found a number of locomotives, freight cars and tank cars derailed and a large fire burning.
The members of the city of Hays Fire Department would like to thank all of the agencies and individuals who responded and worked together to successfully control this emergency. This includes the Hays Police Department, Ellis County Sheriff's Office, Ellis County EMS and Ellis County Emergency Management.
Our mutual-aid partner firefighters put in long hours of hard work on this incident -- the Ellis County Rural Fire Department, city of Ellis Fire Department and the city of Victoria Fire Department.
The city of Hays Utilities Department made sure the city water system operated effectively to provide the large volumes of water needed to contain the fire. The city of Hays Public Works Department quickly mobilized to place traffic control barricades and refuel operating fire trucks. Of special note is the work the Public Works crews did to quickly build dikes and dams to prevent the runoff of contaminated water from reaching Chetolah Creek.
The staff at Holy Family Elementary School graciously opened their building for a public shelter that was staffed by the local chapter of the American Red Cross. The Hays USD 489 transportation staff provided help in moving evacuees to the public shelter. The Red Cross also served breakfast for the responders during this long operation. This breakfast was generously donated by McDonald's of South Vine. The volunteers of the Ellis County Rehabilitation Unit reported with their special trailer equipped and supplied to address the needs of responders taking a rest break.
Finally, the city of Hays firefighters would like to thank the people of our community who support all of the emergency services. The people involved in this emergency were cooperative and helpful, especially those who were asked to leave their homes.
Gary A. Brown Sr., Hays Fire Department chief