Failure to set brakes caused train to derail in Yakima, Washington

The Yakima Herald-Republic newspaper reported that a freight train that derailed four tank cars was caused by human error. The four cars that derailed were carrying thousands of gallons of liquid propane at the time. Chris Bristol reported that a Federal Railroad Administration investigation in Washington D.C. found that the unmanned Burlington Northern Santa Fe train derailed because the operators had failed to set the brakes.

The S.S. Steiner hops warehouse on Washington Avenue was damaged along with the tracks but no one was hurt in the incident that occurred last April 8, 2007. The train wreck resulted in evacuation of parts of Yakima County but luckily, no propane escaped.

Warren Flatsu, a spokesman for the Federal Railroad Administration in Washington D.C. said that “human factors are the leading cause” of train accidents.

Train accidents that result in deaths are fairly rare occurrences. In the past four years, in Washington State, there have averaged from one to four deaths per year due to train accident according to the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis. The major causes of accidents are:

• Human factors – 38%
• Track defects – 35%
• Equipment defects -12%
• Signal defects – 2%
• Miscellaneous causes – 13%


If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident involving a train, you need to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. The Farber Law Group has more than 30 years experience in representing people with severe personal injuries due to the negligence of others. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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