On Oct. 11, my wife and 4-year-old great-grandson and myself were passengers on the Cheat Mountain Salamander. I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks and gratitude to several groups of people which helped to made this day a successful experience.
The first group I would like to thank is the train crew who acted and reacted in a professional manner in all occasions. The second group would be my fellow passengers who helped to rescue and assist those who were injured in the accident. Particularly the nurse who aided the injured and the gentlemen who assisted in removing all but the most seriously injured passengers from the cars. I would like to thank all the fire departments, emergency squads and law enforcement who responded in such a professional manner. I would particularly like to thank Chief Varner of the Bartow Durbin Frank Fire Department who was the first chief officer on the scene and immediately assumed command and proceeded to assign tasks to various personnel as they arrived. His overall command at the accident was outstanding. The unity in which all units worked together was outstanding and did a lot in making this incident have as few bad consequences as possible.
My fellow passengers who were from out of the area were amazed at the amount of equipment and professional manpower that arrived.
While expressing my sympathy to the truck driver's family and others who were injured, I would like once again to say thanks and good job to all involved.
Loy Darl Cross
West Virginia Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal, retired