An official walks past part of a CSX freight trail that derailed in Ellicott City, Md., Tuesday, Aug. 21.
The cleanup continues in Ellicott City, Md. following the derailment of a train early Tuesday that resulted in the deaths of two 19-year-old women sitting on the ledge of a railroad bridge.
The location of the accident, right in the middle of Ellicott City's historic downtown is making the investigation and the cleanup of the incident long, slow work according to Jim Southworth of the National Transportation Safety Board.
"This is a well-orchestrated industrial ballet," Southworth said Wednesday. "It's an incredibly challenging location, unlike any other I've seen."
Main Street in Ellicott City has been partially closed since the derailment, and it could stay closed for a little longer, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman said.
"They're talking now about another 48 hours before they can get everything out of here," Ulman said.
That brought an immediate reaction from Sally Tennant, who was watching the press conference.
"Oh, it was a big groan," she said. Tennant owns Discoveries, a craft and clothing shop just a few hundred feet from the railroad bridge where the train derailed and spilled the coal that buried Elizabeth Nass and Rose Mayr.
Tennant expects to lose thousands of dollars in business while the area remains closed to traffic. But the money is secondary, she adds, noting that her son graduated high school with the two teens who died.
"Any parent who thinks it couldn't be them, or couldn't be their kids, is fooling themselves. Life is very fragile," she says. "I'm thinking about these two girls who probably bought their homecoming dresses here. It's a good possibility ... or were customers of mine."
CSX, the owner of the train the derailed, does have a program to offer restitution to businesses who lose money because of the derailment, according to a company spokesman.