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New details emerge from CSX following brush fires destroying property in Rockland County last week

News 12 was told CSX's number one priority is the safety of its employees and the community a week after brush fires destroyed homes and acres of land in the area.

Diane Caruso

Apr 20, 2023, 9:44 PM

Updated 393 days ago

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New details have emerged from CSX following last week's brush fires in Rockland County.
News 12 was told CSX's number one priority is the safety of its employees and the community a week after brush fires destroyed homes and acres of land in the area.
"CSX's number one priority is the safety of our employees and the communities where we operate," said CSX spokesperson Bryan Tucker. "While the investigation into the brush fires in Rockland County continues, the latest information that CSX has reviewed shows that at least some aspects of the fires appear to have ignited around the time in which our train came through the area. The source of the ignition is still unclear, as the relevant train was promptly stopped and inspected and no wheel or other mechanical issues were found. Immediately following the incident CSX halted train traffic to ensure a swift and safe response from the volunteer fire departments, whom we thank for their quick action to contain and extinguish the fires. CSX teams were on the scene within hours and began the process of proactively going door to door, meeting directly with the impacted residents to offer assistance. We have and will continue working with the affected communities of Haverstraw, Congers and Stoney Point, including affected and concerned residents. CSX will continue to support and cooperate with the ongoing investigations into the matter."
State Sen. Bill Weber says he has introduced a bill that would issue higher penalties for people or railroad agencies found guilty of violating rules and regulations about a train's mechanical functions and hazardous materials. The bill acknowledged fines for those agencies, depending on what they're culpable of, would range between $25,000 to $250,000.
"We really want to make sure the train companies are held accountable," he said.
The bill also proposes the railroad company would have to reimburse homeowners, the state or local municipalities for damages and other costs.
The Federal Railroad Administration told News 12 they plan to investigate the matter fully within the limits of their authority. 
Elected officials say they will meet Friday to the discuss the brushfires.


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