Train Derailed In Washington, Chemicals Leaked


Washington: A CSX freight train carrying hazardous material derailed near the Rhode Island Avenue Metro Station early Sunday morning, according to a D.C. fire spokesman.

News4’s Mark Segraves reported an underground gas line was also ruptured during the derailment. Gas has been turned off, and it is unclear how many people are affected by the closure.

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Doug Buchanan, a spokesman for the D.C fire department, said as many as nine and as many as 11 cars have derailed and at least three are leaking hazardous material. The incident happened at 6:40 a.m. Sunday.

He said there are no evacuations of residents and no call for shelter in place. Rhode Island Avenue is shut down for motorists in the area.

“It looks like our guys have got this pretty well contained,” Buchanan said. “Two, possibly three, of the derailed cars are leaking hazardous material. Exactly what that is and the extent of the leak remains unclear.”

News4’s Mark Segraves reported multiple sources at the scene said at least one of the chemicals is sodium hydroxide.

Also known as lye and caustic soda, the odorless chemical may generate substantial heat when dissolved in water, which may be sufficient to ignite combustible materials, according to the Center for Disease Control.

The CDC said it can cause eye and skin irritation and burns when exposed. It is also damaging to the respiratory system if the fumes are inhaled.

Officials have not said what, if anything, local residents should do. One resident near the scene told News4 he was instructed to stay inside by fire officials.

According to a CSX statement, the train was traveling from Cumberland, Maryland to Hamlet, North Carolina, when it derailed near 9th Stree and Rhode Island Avenue. The train has three locomotives and 175 total cars, including 94 cars loaded with frieght and 81 empty cars.

CSX said there are no reports of injuries.

Metro service on the Red Line has been suspended between NoMa and Brookland stations. Buses are on their way to shuttle passengers, but delays should be expected.