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Fire Department Official Discusses Commuter Train Accident

Aired April 23, 2002 - 12:46   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We are going to back to the other breaking news story that we have been talking about all morning. And that is the train collision in Orange County, California.

On the phone: Kymbra Fleming from the Orange County Fire Department.

Kymbra, the biggest question we have here is, we are getting mixed reports on injuries and deaths. Is it true that one person has been reported killed in this crash now?

KYMBRA FLEMING, ORANGE COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT: We are still trying to confirm if there has been a fatality to one of the passengers on the train.

But what I can tell you is, we now have approximately 265 injuries. Of those injuries, 25 have been categorized into the immediate category, which means those people need immediate treatment. And they have been transported to the hospital. Let's see, 40 have been categorized as delayed, which are non-life-threatening emergencies. And then 200 are minor injuries, which we consider the walking wounded.

PHILLIPS: Types of injuries, can you get specific? What's the most common injury that you have discovered thus far with the 265 people?

FLEMING: We are still trying to get information and details on that, but primarily broken bones, chest pains, minor bleeding, and bruising.

PHILLIPS: Now, take us back to when you first received this call and fire officials responded to the scene. What were you told had happened? And, once you did get to the scene, what can you confirm to us about this accident?

FLEMING: When the call was dispatched, it was 8:10 this morning. And we had our fire engines respond to the scene. They were able to identify that there had been a train wreck. They immediately called it a mass casualty incident. And that's why we were able to get resources there so quickly.

We set up a triage area so that we can evaluate all of our patients, we can treat them, and then we can transport them to the local-area hospitals. And, additionally, we have had firefighters going inside the trains from car to car, checking and assessing patients, getting them out, and then looking for any additional fire suppression concerns that might be there.

PHILLIPS: Yes, are there any other concerns with regard to possibly small fires, bigger fires, that the train -- it's been contained?

FLEMING: That's correct. There has been no fire.

PHILLIPS: Now, how popular is Metrolink? I'm not real familiar. I did live in this area. And I know a lot of people take Metrolink to and from work. How many people actually take this train and how often does it run throughout the day?

FLEMING: That -- I'm sorry. I don't have information on that. But it is definitely a train line that goes through Orange County on a regular basis several times a day.

PHILLIPS: Is there a way that relatives can contact you? Or are you setting up any type of hot line? Do you know of a hot line for those that may want to find out if indeed a relative or a friend was on board?

FLEMING: Sure. Sure.

If you want it call to find out if you had any family members on board the train, you can call Metrolink at 1-800-371-5465. And if you are interested in getting information about the incident, you can contact the Orange County Fire Authority at 714-532-7266.

PHILLIPS: All right, and we will rebroadcast those numbers. And I am told that it is train number 809 that was involved in this accident here near Anaheim in Placentia, California, in Southern California.

Kymbra Fleming from the Orange County Fire Department, thank you so much.

She did confirm for us now 265 people injured in this train collision in Southern California. As we continue to get more information, we will bring it to you.

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