Impact of Tuesday’s Train Fire Minimized by Local Crews
Stormwater Superintendent Nicholas Willis told Hays Post he arrived on the scene of around 4:30 am and met with Union Pacific contractors immediately. His first goal was to keep the fuel and oil contaminated water out of Chetolah creek, as that would have made the cleanup process much more difficult.
Chetolah Creek, a tributary of Big Creek, runs south through the eastern part of the city.
Willis surveyed the area (including the north side of the fire), verified the direction water was flowing and formulated a strategy to contain the runoff water.
Willis then called Assistant Director of Public Works John Braun to bring in the manpower and equipment needed to build temporary dams in the ditch. The local crews and Union Pacific contractors built temporary dams and used vacuum trucks to help gather up the runoff water. The contractors also placed a temporary pipe in one of the dams that caught contaminated water, trapped the foreign material, and allowed only the water to flow over the dam.
The efforts of Nicholas Willis, his local crews, and the contractors prevented the spread of contaminated water to Chetolah Creek and Big Creek.