FLORIDA - Train Derailed, Flammable Chemical Spilled

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


Title: Train derailment briefly closes I-95 Flammable chemical spills out

Source: http://www.herald.com/content/today/docs/096188.htm

BY ANABELLE DE GALE adegale@herald.com March 21, 2000

A train derailed Monday night and spilled a flammable chemical near Interstate 95 in North Miami-Dade, snarling traffic and likely disrupting both Tri-Rail and Amtrak service today.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers closed southbound lanes of I-95 for an hour and police evacuated nearby warehouses of workers after the leak of highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide.

Three cars of the CSX train, which was also carrying petroleum and lime, toppled over about 6:15 p.m. at 110 NE 179th St., said Detective Rudy Espinosa, a Miami-Dade Police spokesman. A fire broke out and was quickly contained, but the Miami-Dade and Hialeah hazardous materials teams were working through the night to handle the hydrogen peroxide leak.

''We are trying to flood it out with water right now in an attempt to dilute it,'' said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokeswoman Pam Hicks. The ''extremely ignitable'' chemical, Hicks said, is the same substance on store shelves, but in a purer form that could burn off a person's skin.

The leaking tank holds up to 18,700 gallons, Hicks said, but firefighters didn't know how much of the chemical was inside.

Concern over the chemical led the FHP to close southbound lanes of the interstate, just 50 yards away from the derailment, from about 8 to 9 p.m.

Frustrated rows of drivers created two lanes of traffic on the grass plus another in the emergency breakdown lane. Traffic creeped a mere two-tenths of a mile in more than an hour.

''It's a parking lot out here with traffic and we're getting a lot of rubber-necking, and we have a lot of angry people out there wanting to get home,'' said Lt. Ernesto Duarte, an FHP spokesman.

Traffic was moving again by 9:15 p.m., but the problems weren't over.

Nearby buildings, including those for Publix Super Markets, Ashland Chemicals, Flamingo Oil and Flowers Bakery, were evacuated.

Clifton Roberts was one of 25 Flowers employees to be evacuated about 7 p.m. He was still waiting outside at 9:30 p.m.

''I've been out here two and a half hours and my shift started at noon,'' he said. ''I hope I'm getting paid.''

The inconvenience didn't stop Monday. Riders on Tri-Rail and Amtrak may find their itineraries today include a bus.

Quintin English, a transportation supervisor for Trirail, said, ''If there's still a spill in the morning, there will be a busing plan in place.''

And Douglas Pearson, a ticket clerk with Amtrak, said Monday night, ''Chartered buses will transport passengers to West Palm Beach tomorrow, where the train will be waiting.''

The derailment didn't block any major roads.

Crews from Jacksonville, using heavy equipment shipped from Georgia, are expected to complete repairs today, Hicks said.

Herald staff writer Peter Whoriskey and Herald writer Mireidy Fernandez contributed to this report.

Copyright 2000 Miami Herald =============================

-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), March 21, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ