HAZMAT crews at scene after 20 Union Pacific rail cars derailed near Coolidge, officials say

Chemical leak contained 20 Union Pacific cars derailed near Coolidge, officials say

HAZMAT crews in Pinal County were called to the scene of a train derailment involving multiple cars, according to officials with Union Pacific.

According to a brief Facebook post by the Coolidge Police Department, the derailment happened east of Highway 87, at Storey Road. In a separate statement, officials with Union Pacific say the derailment happened at around 11:50 a.m.

Union Pacific officials say HAZMAT crews were called to the scene, because a tank car carrying cyclohexanone released material into the ground.

According to the website of The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Cyclohexanone can cause various irritations, headache, and even coma. It can also cause liver and kidney damage in animals. The chemical is listed on the National Library of Medicine’s website as a chemical that is used to make nylon, or as a solvent.

Cyclohexanone was also being carried by a train that caught fire over Tempe Town Lake in July 2020. The fire resulted in the partial collapse of a rail bridge in the area.

“The tank car has been secured. Clean-up efforts have been begun,” read a portion of the Union Pacific statement.

The origin and destination of the train and its number of cars were not immediately reported. The track, however, was not used for passenger travel. Union Pacific spokeswoman Robynn Tysver said the cause of the derailment was being investigated.

Pinal County emergency officials said no evacuation was ordered but police advised people to avoid the area about 5 miles (8 kilometers) south of Coolidge, a city about 56 miles (90 kilometers) from Phoenix.

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.

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