WASHINGTON (WJZ/AP)—A hazmat investigation was underway after a CSX freight train derailed on Sunday morning.
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Officials warn there will likely be severe disruptions for Brunswick Line service Monday. Passengers are asked to consider alternatives. The Washington Metro will be open; additional buses will be added to the 505 and 515 commuter bus lines from Hagerstown, Frederick and Monocacy to the Shady Grove Metro; passengers boarding at Germantowwn or east may utilize Ride-On bus service to the Washington Metro. All three of these options will honor MARC tickets.
The derailment happened just before 7:00 a.m. in the area of 9th and Rhode Island Ave. NE.
During a press conference on Sunday morning, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said a CSX train traveling from Maryland to Hamilton, North Carolina derailed in Prince George’s County. Fourteen of the train’s 175 cars derailed, shutting down travel in the area for hours.
D.C. fire officials say one of the derailed cars was leaking sodium hydroxide. That leak has since been plugged.
“It is a chemical similar to bleach or Drano,” said DC Mayor Muriel Bowser.
CSX Spokeswoman Kristin Seay said another car was found to be leaking non-hazardous calcium chloride. That leak has also been plugged.
Seay said another car that derailed was slowly leaking ethanol from the base of a valve. She said officials are working to re-seal the valve and that the ethanol has been contained.
Bowser said at a news conference that officials were not sure how much of the chemicals spilled.
“The fumes should not cause you any problems and you should not be able to smell them anywhere else,” said D.C. Fire and EMS Deputy Chief John Donnelly.
Chris Nellum said he lives nearby and his window looks directly over the tracks.
“I thought it was like a semi-truck coming toward the building and when I looked out the window, I saw cars piling up,” said Nellum, who had just moved in the night before. “So I’m not even used to hearing trains. It was jarring.”
Nellum said his girlfriend tried to leave the area and was told to stay put, but she eventually found a way out.
“She’s an environmentalist so she is very concerned about whatever is leaking,” he said.
It was not immediately clear what caused the derailment. Crews were inspecting the tracks, which are used by CSX, the MARC commuter rail system and Amtrak. The Metro tracks are above and adjacent to the derailment site.
The Red Line’s Rhode Island Station also is closed. Metro said it would establish bus shuttle service between the NoMa and Brookland stations.
No one was injured in the incident.
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