Community Comes Together to Aid Strangers During Tragedy

A sign outside the Liberty Quick Stop in Chester thanks local responders

CHESTER, Mont. (NMB) – When tragedy struck on the Hi-Line on Saturday afternoon with the derailment of a westbound Amtrak Empire Builder, the community came together to save lives and aid the occupants of the train.

At around 4 PM in Chester, four emergency sirens sounded on Saturday, signaling a disaster. At first, many thought it was a mistake, but people quickly realized that something was wrong and leapt into action, according to Liberty Quick Stop and MX Motel Owner Jesse Anderson, who donated rooms and supplies.

“I’m just proud of the community and how they responded so quickly and without flinching in the face of a huge crisis that they were not expecting on a Saturday afternoon in late September.”

Hill County DES Coordinator Amanda Frickel was one of the dozens of responders from outside of Liberty County that rushed to the scene to help. She was at the scene of the derailment for about 20 minutes and was then sent to CJI High School to help with triage.

“That’s huge for our community to know that we can handle a situation like this. And we can do it humanely, and we can be compassionate. And we all pulled together and we did it.”

Volunteer firefighters and others in the area rushed to the scene, while others donated food, water, supplies and rides on cars and buses.

In total, responders from seven different counties provided aid.

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