A potential disaster was averted in the City of North Platte this morning after a rail car loaded with chlorine derailed just to the East of Bailey yards.
The derailment occurred around 6:30am.
Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis says the car came free during sorting and rolled down a track into a derailing device.
Fortunately for the city, the car stayed intact and did not leak any of the potentially dangerous gas.
The Centers for Disease Control lists the following symptoms of chlorine gas exposure:
- Chest tightness
- Burning sensation in the nose, throat, and eyes
- Watery eyes
- Blurred vision
- Nausea and vomiting
- Burning pain, redness, and blisters on the skin if exposed to gas, skin injury similar to frostbite if exposed to liquid chlorine
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath (may appear immediately if high concentrations of chlorine gas are inhaled, or may be delayed if low concentrations of chlorine gas are inhaled)
- Fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) within 2 to 4 hours
North Platte Police and Fire were quick in their response, and quickly blocked of access to the area. A hazardous materials team from the Union Pacific was also on scene. A portion of Front street was closed, as well as the Buffalo Bill overpass, but was soon opened once the situation was assessed and contained. Businesses in the area were also informed of the situation.
According the the North Platte 911 Center, this was all done as a precautionary measure.
According to UP Officials, a crane was being brought in from Scottsbluff to set the car upright.
Union Pacific officials continue to investigate the accident.