By JOHN FLOWERS AND JOHN S. McCRIGHT
MIDDLEBURY — Public safety officials on Tuesday morning lifted the evacuation order for the area of downtown Middlebury that was shut down on Monday afternoon following the derailment of a train car carrying gasoline.
Four streets nearest the overturned tanker car remained closed: South Pleasant, Cross, Water and Charles streets. Middlebury Union High School and Mary Hogan Elementary School, which were closed and evacuated on Monday, were reopened Tuesday morning. The Gailer School and Mary Johnson Children’s Center, which are located on closed streets, remained closed on Tuesday.
Downtown Middlebury returned to its normal level of activity after being completely closed down on Monday.
Seventeen cars of a Vermont Railways train derailed on the tracks along the west side of the Otter Creek across the river from Mr. Ups restaurant at a little after 2 p.m. on Monday. The line of overturned cars stretched from the railroad trestle near Water Street to the point at which the tracks go under Merchants Row.
Officials said that 14 of the cars carried gasoline and the three at the north end were carrying road salt. Spillage of gasoline and salt was minimal, and a firefighters quickly extinguished a small fire.
“This could have been MUCH more catastrophic had there been explosion or major spillage,” Middlebury Town Planner Fred Dunnington said in a release Tuesday morning.
Only one rail car sustained any substantial loss of gasoline, officials said on Monday evening. Nevertheless, local firefighters and state hazardous materials teams set up booms in the Otter Creek just above the Middlebury Falls as a precaution.