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Burbank Fire Department Holds Press Conference

Aired January 6, 2003 - 14:31   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Live to Burbank, California now. We're being told a news conference being held on the fatal train derailment that took place this morning in Southern California. We're told the Burbank Fire Department, police department, and also a spokesperson from Metrolink about to speak. We're going to listen in.
This coming to us live via our CNN affiliate KABC in Los Angeles. Let's listen in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody not ready?

PHILLIPS: All right. As we're waiting...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. It's 11:30. My name is Captain Thomas March, and I'm with the Glendale Fire Department. I am here to introduce three PIOs to talk to you about the Burbank Metrolink train incident. First would be battalion chief David Starr from Burbank Fire Department -- Chief Starr.

DAVID STARR, BURBANK FIRE DEPARTMENT: Good morning. First of all, I'd like to just remind you how fortunate we are that the circumstances are not worse. This could have been much worse. Pardon me?

This morning, we received a call at 9:30 of a train versus vehicle. Our units arrived at 9:34. Upon arrival, the first thing they found at the intersection of San Fernando Boulevard and Buena Vista was the portion of the truck that still remained there that was fully involved in fire.

They immediately saw that down the track about 1,000 feet, they saw additional debris, and the remaining parts of the train that had derailed.

The accident was caused by the train impacting the truck at that intersection. We have determined that all signals and guardrails were functioning properly. There were approximately 50 to 60 passengers on the train at the time of the accident.

We have -- victims -- we had four that were immediate injuries, meaning they needed immediate transport. There were eight that were delayed, and we had 20 minor injuries. They've all been transported to local hospitals at this time. This train was in what we call the push configuration, where the engine was at the rear. The train engineer was in the front car. The train engineer was injured and transported to a local hospital. We would like for victims to know that if -- or families of potential victims that they can call 1-800- 371-LINK for patient follow-up.

That's all I have.

QUESTION: Where were they taken?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One second. We'll have more questions for the chief in a second. Let me bring you, from Metrolink, Sharon Gavin -- Sharon.

SHARON GAVIN, METROLINK: My name is Sharon Gavin. I'm from Metrolink. S-H-A-R-O-N G-A-V-I-N.

The train involved in this inciden -- first of all, for families of people who they're worried about whether or not their family member were injured on board this train, again I'd like to repeat the number. It is 1-800-371-LINK. 1-800-371-LINK. That's the number that you can call for information to find out whether or not one of your loved ones was on this train and was injured, and where they were taken.

This was Metrolink Train 210. It is an Antelope Valley Line train that left the Via Princessa station at 8:47 this morning. It was headed into Los Angeles. It passed through the Santa Clarita (ph) station, the Newhall (ph) station, the Silmar (ph) San Fernando station. It had just left the Sun Valley station and was heading into the Burbank station when this incident occurred.

As they explained, it was in a push formation. That means the locomotive was at the rear of the train. It was being controlled by the engineer in the cab car at the front of the train. There were four cars, one locomotive on this train. We had 58 passengers on board and two crew members.

And as far as I know, the passengers who have been treated have either been treated and released or have been taken to local hospitals. We're still gathering information on that. Again, the number for people who need to find out whether or not their family members or loved ones were involved in this incident is 1-800-371- LINK. We will update you with more information as soon as we have it. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now to talk about the investigation, from Burbank Police Department is Sergeant John Dilibert.

SGT. JOHN DILIBERT, BURBANK POLICE DEPARTMENT: Good morning. Currently right now, this is a traffic accident. We are working -- the Burbank Police Department, our traffic engineers and our traffic bureau is working in conjunction with the Metrolink in investigating the actual cause of this accident.

It is too early to tell us exactly what happened, how it all transpired. However, I will be able to give you information in the future, hopefully within the next hour, give you a little more input on that. Does anybody have any questions at this time?


DILIBERT: When we arrived, this is where we found it, actually where part of it is placed right now, come to rest.


DILIBERT: It's undetermined at this time exactly what happened. However, we do know that the gates were working, and the signals were working at the time. Whether the truck stalled on the tracks, whether it tried to go around the gates, I do not know. It is too early to tell until I get some information from some witnesses.


DILIBERT: I do have some information on the victim. However, we're trying to make an identification and notify the next of kin.


DILIBERT: Not at this time. We're still trying to (UNINTELLIGIBLE).


DILIBERT: I do not know if they've interviewed the engineer. I believe he's actually being attended to by the physicians in the hospital. However, the type of truck you're talking about, it's our understanding it could be like a two-ton stake bed truck. However, due to the extensive damage to it, we're still trying to determine that.

OK. Anything else?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've been listening to Sergeant John Dilibert...

PHILLIPS: All right. This live news conference via KABC. If you are just tuning in, we've been following the train derailment that happened in Burbank, California. One fatality, that was the individual driving the truck that hit that train. A number -- dozens of passengers injured. They are being treated. As the fire chief there in Burbank said, it definitely could have been much worse. So good news is no more fatalities at this point. Passengers continue to be treated and an investigation underway into what had happened in Burbank there.


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