Train Derails, Leaks Acid, Causing Evacuations

Thursday, September 27th 2007, 8:26 pm
By: News On 6

PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) _ A train car derailed and leaked hydrochloric acid Thursday, leading to residential evacuations, a railroad official said. A radio reporter covering the story was taken to a hospital after being exposed to fumes.

Four cars derailed around noon in a rail yard, and three overturned, said Larry Davis, vice president of sales and marketing for the Paducah and Louisville Railway. Of the other overturned cars, one was empty and one was carrying harmless plastic pellets, he said.

State emergency management officials called for residents within 2,500 feet to leave their homes as a precaution. Six people were evacuated to a Red Cross shelter set up at a local church.

The only injury reported was to Donna Groves, a radio newswoman for WKYX-AM in Paducah, who was taken to a local hospital after being exposed to fumes, station spokesman Matt Ryan said. Groves' injuries did not appear to be serious, he said.

The leak had stopped by 3:30 p.m., Davis said, but the cause of the derailment was unknown. The railroad called in a team to clean up the leaked materials.

A hazardous materials team conducting air tests in the area said readings were within acceptable safety ranges.

Hydrochloric acid can burn the lungs if inhaled. Davis declined to name the client that owned the spilled chemical.

The railyard is in a mostly industrial area of Paducah, a city of 26,000 on the Ohio River in western Kentucky.