It’s Been 30 Years Since the Crofton CSX Derailment
All I remember about that early Thursday morning (June 23, 1988) was Mom and Dad waking me and my sister up and I saw a fire truck going down the street in our neighborhood. When I got outside, not knowing the serious nature of why we were leaving the house, I could smell something slightly gaseous.
It was jokingly referred to as "the gas that passed" but the CSX derailment and phosphorus fire at Crofton in Christian County caused a panic and the evacuation of over 15,000 people in an eight county area could have been a lot worse. The toxic gas was dangerous to inhale and it could possibly have burned the skin; no such major injuries were reported.
Authorities shut down 50 miles stretches on both the Western Kentucky and the then Green River Parkway. The fire was allowed to burn itself out.
I know we stopped at least once, in Morgantown to get gas, and we would eventually make our way to Bowling Green and stay at a hotel. At one point, my sister was so scared, she threw up. We were given the all clear to return home later that afternoon.
A friend of mine posted this cover of the Ohio County Times-News about the event:
Everywhere turned into a ghost town, but we were all thankfully safe.