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Train derails; roadways closed

Officials with Kansas City Southern are investigating the cause of a train derailment that shut down roads in several high-traffic areas Tuesday.

Two rail cars were involved with one overturning and the other jumping the tracks near Spur 136 Tuesday morning. The cars were carrying ethylene oxide but officials with Port Arthur Fire Department, Port Arthur Police Department and Huntsman said the two cars were not leaking and pose no immediate threat to the public. Port Neches Fire Department also responded to the derailment.

Clark Colvin, manager of community relations for Huntsman, said there was a meeting of emergency management officials and other relevant persons Tuesday afternoon to develop a plan for repairing the rails, righting the cars and transferring the materials.

“No emissions have been reported and we will continue to monitor the area,” he said. “As a precaution Spur 136 and Texas 347 and a portion of 60th Street will remain closed until the work is completed. KSC crews will work throughout the night and the work should be completed in less than 24 hours.”

No injuries were reported.

Ethylene oxide is produced in large volumes and is primarily used in the production of several industrial chemicals, according to www.osha.gov. Ethylene oxide is both flammable and highly reactive and can cause respiratory irritation, lung injury and other symptoms.

Colvin said the rail cars were leaving Huntsman’s Port Neches Performance Products plant when the incident occurred.

KCS corporate communications and community affairs person, Doniele Kane said railroad crews and support specialists are on the scene planning for the safest way to offload product from the tank cars and to right the cars.

While no evacuation was officially ordered, employees at the Texas Department of Transportation’s Port Arthur office evacuated and worked out of the Beaumont location, Marc Shepherd, TxDOT public information person, said.