Alameda County honor first responders from ACE train derailment

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The Alameda Board of Supervisors honored the incredible efforts of first responders to the ACE train derailment in Niles Canyon that happened earlier this month. (Photo submitted to KGO-TV by Stefan Stifter/Twitter)

The Alameda Board of Supervisors honored the incredible efforts of first responders to the ACE train derailment in Niles Canyon that happened earlier this month.

Two sheriff's deputies, Justin Brannon and Anthony King, were first on the scene as they pulled two people out of a submerged car and carried them a mile to a waiting ambulance.

"My thought was we were going to be dealing with some real tragedies, but fortunately it didn't work out that way and everybody got out alive," said Hamman.

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One by one, these men and women came forward to accept their awards from Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty.

"I can tell you it really broke my heart that night, to see that train," said an emotional Haggerty.

Thanks in part to their effort, just nine people were injured in the derailment.

Alameda Fire Department officials said 14 people were injured, four seriously, when a commuter train traveling from Silicon Valley to Stockton in Central California derailed after hitting a tree that fell on the tracks following a heavy rain in early March. The train went off the tracks near Niles Canyon Road in a rural area of Alameda County and became partially submerged in the water.

There were 214 passengers on the train. Most of the passengers were able to get themselves off the train, uninjured.

"My thought was we were going to be dealing with some real tragedies, but fortunately it didn't work out that way and everybody got out alive," said Hamman.

RELATED: ACE train passengers recall terrifying derailment near Sunol


The sheriff's deputies were joined by Fremont police, CalFire and Alameda County firefighters.

"We search the interior of the train as far as we could, until we got to the water's edge and then we had to actually go on top of the train and then we had to lower a guy to check some void spaces to make sure they were clear," explained Capt. Brian Ferreira with ALCO Fire.

And though most agencies don't train for this exact scenario, the real-life experience they gained that night will go a long way in the future.

"I think the biggest thing is just trusting your training and kind of learning from this situation, how to apply it to the next one, talking about it afterwards and figuring out what you did well and what you could do better and kind of moving forward," said Grant Goepp with Fremont police.


Related Topics:
train crashtrain accidenttrain derailmentalameda countyinvestigationcrashheroACE traintrain safetySunolStocktonFremontHayward
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