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Elmendorf neighborhood raises concerns amid explosion aftermath

Across the street from the railyard, families say this isn’t the first time their small community has experienced danger
Credit: KENS 5

Ask anyone who lives in Elmendorf, and they’ll tell you they’re part of a tight-knit community. That’s one reason why the explosion Friday afternoon is resonated with the entire city.

Frank Leyba didn’t witness the explosion, but he saw the aftermath as it sped down his street.

“One after the other, I’m seeing maybe 20 ambulances, 20 fire trucks,” he recalled. “I thought it was a car accident.”

Leyba said he’s not used to his small-town road getting this much attention. After an explosion at Alamo Junction Rail Yard killed one person and injured five others, his neighborhood was buzzing with sirens.

Elmendorf police are still investigating the incident.

“We’re in constant contact with the people who own the facility,” said Police Chief Marco Pena.

The search for answers could take weeks. Meanwhile, neighbors like the Leyba family, look for resolution to their concerns.

“If this happens, what bigger can happen?” asked Susie Leyba.

The family said Friday’s explosion wasn’t the first time there had been a serious incident in their small neighborhood. Previously, they were alarmed by a chemical factory down the road.

“There was one day they stopped and told us they were evacuating because there was a chemical spill,” said Leyba. “It’s a hazard having the train and chemicals here.”

The family said when they moved to this property two decades ago, neither the factory nor the rail yard were across the street. The businesses – and the dangers they bring – have the family wish they lived elsewhere.

“If we had the funds, we would be out of here. By tomorrow,” said Leyba.

KENS 5 reached out to the company that owns Alamo Junction Rail Yard for a comment. They did not wish to comment at this time.