Safety measures could prevent more tragedies

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Sometimes it takes a single tragic event to realize that changes and improvements should be made.

This is the case with the recent death of 22-year-old Camas resident Sami Nesta-Serrano. Although the exact cause has yet to be determined, BNSF Railway officials have surmised that he was likely hit by an oncoming train late Saturday or early Sunday as he stood near or attempted to cross the tracks located at Southeast Sixth Avenue and Franklin Street.

This particular area becomes very popular several times a year as fishermen descend on the Washougal River. Cars and trucks not only line Southeast Sixth Avenue, they also use a gravel parking area that is located just a few feet from the tracks where trains pass by up to 35 times per day. There are currently no barriers in place to prevent people from crossing the tracks on foot. It would only take a minor misstep at the wrong time to land directly into the path of an oncoming train.

A BNSF representative stated yesterday that a safety team is currently reviewing whether additional preventative measures might be taken. It seems clear that something could and should be done to try to keep this kind of tragedy from happening again — particularly given the fact that since this is not a designated railroad crossing, and engineers are not required to blow their train horns when approaching.

While it is understood that the railroad tracks are private BNSF property, the reality of the situation is that preventative measures that could include additional signs and barrier fencing need to be implemented at that location.