9 Investigates risks with rail plans to transport highly explosive gas

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Channel 9’s investigative reporter Christopher Heath has uncovered plans to transport hazardous chemicals on commuter rail tracks are just feet away from homes and businesses.

Heath pored through hundreds of pages of federal records to uncover the rail line, which is billed as a high speed commuter project is now planning to transport something else.

Eyewitness News has reported the rail service, All Aboard Florida plans to whisk passengers from Orlando to Miami and back again.

But 9 Investigates learned that its parent company, Florida East Coast Rail, has other plans for the tracks.

"There is a possibility that we may be moving in the foreseeable future,” said resident Connie Ward.

Ward has lived in Titusville for seven years. Her home is fewer than 3 miles from where Florida East Coast Industries has plans for a liquefied natural gas plant.

"We don't need an evacuation plan. If that thing starts to go up, all we need to do is put our heads between our legs and kiss our rear ends goodbye,” Ward told Heath.

The nation currently has an abundance of natural gas. Domestically, it is transported through pipelines. But if it is shipped, it needs to be liquefied. It must be moved from plant to port, which is where rail lines come in.

It’s the same railroad that All Aboard Florida plans to use for its high-speed commuter service.

The rail cuts through highly populated cities and counties along Florida's coast.

"That is a real concern of ours. We don't believe there are enough regulations in place,” said Brent Hanlon of Citizens Against Rail Expansion.

The Martin County Fire Department issued a report that showed a possible blast radius would impact 1,200 residents. The report showed that such an accident would exceed local response capabilities.

Eyewitness News reached out to All Aboard Florida, but were told to contact Florida East Coast.

Eyewitness News contacted them, but our emails have not been returned.

The Federal Railroad Administration confirmed the application is still pending.