Chemical-Laden Train Derails in Louisiana

Homes evacuated amid toxic leak

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 5, 2013 1:36 AM CDT

(Newser) – With rail safety in the spotlight after last month's disaster in Canada, the derailment of a train carrying hazardous materials in Louisiana has rattled nerves but not caused any deaths or serious injuries. Around 100 homes were evacuated after at least 20 cars of a Union Pacific train went off the rails east of Baton Rouge, the AP reports.

Two of the cars are leaking sodium hydroxide, which can be deadly if it is inhaled or touches the skin, but officials say air pollution detectors haven't picked up anything. Gov. Bobby Jindal flew into the area last night, reports KATC. "Anytime you have chemicals leaking into the environment, that's a serious issue," he told reporters. "Nobody knows the extent of the damage. We'll get that in the next 24 hours."

The Union Pacific train's load included sodium hydroxide and highly flammable vinyl chloride.   (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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