Numerous Harford County residents in the Fallston, Joppa and Bel Air areas felt the tremble Tuesday afternoon when a train derailed and caused an explosion in the Rosedale area of Baltimore County near the Baltimore City line.
Several Harford fire companies also sent equipment to fill in at Baltimore fire stations while their crews responded to the train wreck and resulting fire, whose smoke could be seen miles away.
Eleven pieces of equipment staffed by Harford volunteers from Aberdeen, Bel Air, Abingdon, Jarrettsville, Joppa-Magnolia, Fallston and Susquehanna Hose volunteer fire companies have been sent to cover at various Baltimore County stations while they handle the derailment, according to the Harford County Fire & EMS PIO Media Page on Facebook.
Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company sent two medic units and a fire truck, Abingdon sent one medic unit and one fire truck, Susquehanna Hose of Havre de Grace, Jarrettsville and Joppa all sent engines, Aberdeen sent its tower and Fallston sent an engine and medic unit, Rich Gardiner, spokesman for the foundation, said.
Abingdon's ambulance and one of Bel Air's ambulances were dispatched to the staging area, while the remaining pieces of equipment were sent to fill in at other stations. Bel Air Fire Company's auxiliary unit also was requested to go to the staging area, according to Gardiner.
The Fire & EMS Facebook page said many people in Harford County felt the rumble from an apparent explosion following the derailment.
Michelle White, who lives in the Woodcrest community in Fallston, which is off Route 152 about 18 miles north and east of the wreck site, said she was coming downstairs when she felt the boom.
"I was just walking down the steps and heard this big explosion and felt the whole house shake," White said via phone. "I was just like, what was that?"
She thought it might be weapons testing at Aberdeen Proving Ground, which many residents are accustomed to hearing, or possibly an earthquake.
"My first thought was APG," White said. "It was definitely loud and then the house shook."
According to The Baltimore Sun, The National Transportation Safety Board announced at around 4 p.m. that it was sending a "go-team" that includes rail and hazmat investigators.
Baltimore County spokeswoman Elise Armacost told The Sun the train was carrying unknown chemicals but said the smoke did not include toxic inhalants. A 20-block area around the accident was evacuated as a precaution, and fire officials said they expected the fire from the burning freight cars to continue into the evening.
Aegis staff members Bryna Zumer and Erika Butler contributed to this report.