There has been a lot of chatter this morning about the Ellicott City train derailment, how long the bottom of Old Ellicott City will be closed, and what's going on at the scene. I understand my friend WB is mixing it up with the mainstream press, so I would check back with him throughout the day.
First and foremost, two people have died. This is a horrible tragedy and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of these two individuals. I have also been told that rescue workers are sorting through the wreckage and spilled coal to look for any additional fatalities. This spill occurred around midnight right next to The Phoenix with many cars still in the parking lot. We can only hope that this tragic accident was limited to two deaths. In light of this recovery effort, the early word is that the bottom of Main Street may be closed for upwards of 24-36 hours.
As for Ellicott City businesses, Tersiguel's has already announced that it is staying open and that parking Lots D, E, and F are all still available. These businesses take significant losses when they have to close and I hope our community overcomes inconvenience in favor of supporting them through this time.
Finally, I'm making the call on our Homeless Ending Happy Hour at 1 pm this afternoon. The Rumor Mill is further down the hill near the scene of the accident, so things are touch and go. It would probably be much easier to just reschedule now, but Matt Milani has always been a great supporter of nonprofits and fundraising efforts throughout Howard County, and I think it would be wrong to spurn his gracious offer prematurely.
UPDATE: From Courtney Watson, County Councilmember from District 1, which includes Old Ellicott City:
Visited Main Street earlier. Ran into our County Exec who had been there all night. No hazardous materials, only coal on train. 21 cars derailed on 80 car train. Entire lower parking lot covered with train cars, burying parked cars. Will take at least 36 hours to remove all of the cars and repair track. Since heavy equipment needed, Main Street will likely remain closed between Old Columbia Road and county line for a day or two. NTSB on scene and taking control from local HC DFRS which did an amazing job securing scene and working with CSX to bring in necessary equipment to remove wreckage. Meeting will go on tonight on Historic Ellicott City improvements 7 p.m. George Howard Building. Update available to shop owners and residents at that time.