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Fatal train derailment closes roads, stifles area business

The derailment that overturned 21 coal-carrying train cars in Ellicott City early Tuesday morning, killing two 19-year-olds, was expected to close Frederick Road for up to 30 hours while emergency workers cleared the scene.

"It felt like an earthquake," said Jessica Nonn, 22, a Catonsville High graduate, Tuesday afternoon.

Nonn said she had parked her car along the tracks at around 11:15 p.m. before going into Cacao Lane in Ellicott City with friends.

Now, she said, both she and her friend, Samantha Tabler, have been told they are going to have to wait at last five days before they can get to their cars.

Tabler, 22, also a Catonsville High grad, said the two plan to get rental cars.

She said both have already filed claims on the CSX website.

"I was literally thinking of leaving the bar about five minutes before it happened," Tabler said.

Tabler said the deaths of the two young women had an effect on her.

"Those two young girls aren't much younger than us," she said.

Area businesses along the Baltimore and Howard county line in Ellicott City were also impacted and forced to close Aug. 21, and possibly beyond the day of the accident.

At the High's store and Shell gas station on Frederick Road on the Baltimore side of the border, manager Marcela Osoreon said there had been no deliveries of bread, nor the morning editions of the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post.

"Business is down. I'm not selling any gas," Osoreon said.

Instead of the 10 customers or more an hour in the store during a typical day, the 10-year manager estimated there had been 10 customers for the entire day, as of 1 p.m.

The B&O Railroad Museum Ellicott City Station is typically closed Tuesdays, but the accident will likely force closures on Wednesday and Thursday this week, Tom Hane site manager of the museum, said.

"They have a lot of work to do because we're so close to the tracks," Hane said, of the museum that sits just south of Main Street along the tracks.

It appears the museum at 2711 Maryland Ave. escaped damage from the derailment, but Hane said he can't be fully certain about that until after the area's recovery work is completed.

Hane said he could provide no further comment because the investigation is ongoing.

Nearby restaurant The Trolley Shop usually serves breakfast on weekdays starting at 8 a.m. but closed the morning after the accident.

"They don't want anyone in the area," said manager John Fields.

Fields said just before 10 a.m. on Tuesday that the restaurant planned to open for lunch, but employees had been slow to report to work.

"That's my job right now, to get them here," Fields said.

Two calls to the Old Mill Bakery Cafe, located next door to The Trolley Stop, on Tuesday morning were unanswered.

Sherri Trenary, owner of the Patapsco Horse Center in Oella, said she was awakened in the middle of the night to the sound of her dog barking at fire trucks racing down Frederick Road, but that she was not alarmed because she often hears emergency vehicles at night.

She said the accident has had no impact on her business, so far. "The train is far enough away from us that it hasn't affected us any," Trenary said.

Tony Poleski opened Family Affair Produce as usual at 10 a.m. but said he wouldn't know how the accident would affect his business, which sells fruits and vegetables about 1.5 miles east of the derailment on Frederick Road.

"There's no traffic going by," Poleski said just before 10 a.m. Aug. 21. "Other than that, I wouldn't know until later today."

Poleski's parents live about two minutes from where the derailment took place but slept through the accident, he said.

"I haven't heard anything. Besides, it's pretty much a mess down there," he said.

This story has been updated.

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