Although we spend more time on global and/or existential threats, there is a fair amount of localized disasters that can seem pretty apocalyptic if you are one of the unfortunates caught in the midst of one of them.
The shipment of chemicals, and fuels are one of the larger localized disasters possible. They happen fairly frequently, but fortunately have tended not to be in the middle of a huge mega city- although that is certainly possible.
The story of the moment is of a town Lac-Megantic, Quebec.
|Quebec derailment (thumbnail of original from Wall Street Journal)|
Note that the Wall Street Journal, and others had a piece just a few weeks ago that noted that rail shipments of oil were up, and that the flexibility of rail was appreciated, even as it was a more hazardous method of shipment than pipelines. One suspects that these stories were industry plants, to help with the push for more pipelines, but the "plants" unfortunately were accurate.