By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury Fire Chief Richard Cole reported late Wednesday afternoon reported substantial progress in the clean up of the train derailment that shut down much of downtown Middlebury on Monday.
Vermont Railway officials on Tuesday tentatively cited a broken section of rail line as the cause of a train accident that toppled 18 cargo cars in downtown Middlebury on Monday, sending an undetermined amount of gasoline into the Otter Creek.
Fire, police and state environmental officials, fearing an explosion or adverse health effects from breathing gasoline fumes from the spill, cordoned off most of downtown Middlebury to traffic for almost 24 hours after the 2 p.m. accident. During that time crews evaluated the site and began moving the rail car wreckage while keeping the gasoline spill to a minimum.
As of Wednesday afternoon officials said they hoped to have the line open again by late Thursday.
While the accident temporarily inconvenienced motorists and an estimated 400 to 500 residents of the Cross Street/Main Street/South Pleasant Street neighborhoods who had to
be evacuated, Middlebury officials breathed a collective sigh of relief realizing that no one had been hurt and that things could have been a whole lot