At least two people are dead and CSX personnel were on the way at about 3 a.m. Tuesday to search for any additional victims after a late Monday night.
Just before midnight, Tuesday, 21 cars of an 80-car-long freight train derailed along the CSX line that travels through the Ellicott City historic district, according to a press release from the Howard County Police Department.
The train was headed southbound. Train cars and their loads—coal—fell into the parking lot off of Main Street, on the west side of the Patapsco River, said County Executive Ken Ulman, speaking on behalf of the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services and the Howard County Police Department.
Two confirmed fatalities were people on the CSX-owned bridge over Main Street, said Ulman.
As of about 3 a.m., officials on the scene said they did not yet have information on the identities of the two victims, or why they were on the tracks. "All we know is that they're there," Police Captain Lee Lachman said.
Main Street will be closed for what Fire Chief William Goddard called an "extended operation." Officials urge drivers to use an alternate route at least through Tuesday.
According to Ulman, representatives from the Maryland State Department of the Environment surveyed the scene and said, tentatively, that there was no serious impact on the Patapsco River.
"It could have been a lot worse, when it comes to chemicals," Ulman said of the spill.
On Aug. 8, . No one was injured in that incident.