[NOTE: Our group #NoHospitalDowntown has warned about this for over three years. Many have added their "No Hospital Downtown" voioce - for various reasons - since November 2014. #NoHospitalDowntown has also documented the regular occurance of Upstate Derailments. Meanwhile BUD sees a better future for Downtown Utica's Columbia Lafayette Neighborhood.]
Tuesday, May 2, 2023 | Utica, NY - Monday morning CFX oil car derailment triggers 1/2 mile evacuation zone. One helicopter down. MVHS CEO, Darlene Stromstad, in hiding.
While the scene of the derailment behind the Utica Aud was back to normal by Monday afternoon, chaos and mayhem ruled both inside and outside the Downtown Utica Regional Hospital into the night.
MVHS spokesperson Caitlin McCann released a statement confirming 37 dead with 112 missing. “We will likely be re-visiting our emergency procedures to assure lower fatality numbers in future evacuations,” the press release stated, concluding, “given that this was our first evacuation, all in all, everything went as good, if not better, than expected. We wholeheartedly commend the professional conduct of our entire staff. From custodial to administrative, we couldn’t be prouder.”
The statement didn’t mention MVHS CEO, Darlene Stromstad, or her whereabouts.
CFX train spokesman, Robert Pierce, stated that the preliminary investigation suggests a broken rail weld likely caused the derailment, but a full investigation would take 7 - 10 days to complete.
US DOT regulations impose a mandatory 1/2 mile evacuation zone in the event of any oil car derailment. Should a spill, explosion, or fire be involved, the evacuation zone is expanded to 1 mile. Utica’s downtown hospital was built 1,450 feet from the existing CFX railroad tracks. There are approximately 3,000 rail derailments in the US annually.
Speaking at a hastily arranged Monday afternoon press conference at Turning Stone Casino, County Executive Anthony Picente pleaded for calm in the face of the disaster.
“From what I understand, the majority of fatalities involve patients in critical care. It’s important the public keeps in mind that these were patients who would likely have died in the next few days, anyway,” adding, “as for the missing, tracking patients being hurriedly evacuated is problematic. Most of the missing likely fled by foot on their own.”
The hospital situation was also exasperated by the crash one of three helicopters involved in... (See EVACUATION A4)
Former Robert Palmieri stated, “No matter the risk, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize how foolish it was to build a hospital within a Railroad red zone. I don’t know what the Hell MVHS was thinking.”
Our group #NoHospitalDowntown has warned about this for over three years. Many have added their "No Hospital Downtown" voioce - for various reasons - since November 2014. #NoHospitalDowntown has also documented the regular occurance of Upstate Derailments. Meanwhile BUD sees a better future for Downtown Utica's Columbia Lafayette Neighborhood.