A freight train derailment Thursday morning near Mauriceville, Texas, forced nearly 600 residents to evacuate until spilled hazardous materials can be cleaned up.
At about 7:30 a.m., a 25-car Kansas City Southern Railway freight travelling parallel to FM 1130 derailed in Orange County near Beaumont. A motorist traveling FM 1130 at the time of the derailment captured video of the railcars tipping and overturning. That video quickly went viral on social media.
Of the 15 loaded cars in the train, two hazmat ethylene oxide cars and one hazmat propylene oxide car derailed, but remained intact with no leaks, authorities state. However, two hazmat monoethanolamine cars that derailed were leaking corrosive liquid.
No injuries were reported.
Authorities established a one-mile exclusion zone with plans to reduce that zone as cleanup work progresses, the Orange County Sheriff’s office Facebook page states. Everyone a half mile outside the zone are being asked to shelter-in-place.
Emergency responders worked to contain the leaks, and capture the product for proper disposal, authorities said.
“KCS is working quickly with the local and state agencies to clean the spilled products,” the Facebook page reports. Mauriceville Emergency Service District No. 4 and other emergency agencies also responded to the scene.
"As the product from these cars present hazards related to direct contact, and not respiratory exposure, the product release was mitigated without harm to the general public," the Orange County Office of Emergency Management reports. "Four confirmed non-hazmat tank cars were breached, and leaking a petroleum product that did not represent a health risk to the general population. The full train contents has been provided to public safety officials on scene."
As of Sunday, the designated evacuation area remains in effect from FM 1130 to Old Highway 62 and will remain shuy down while cleanup continues in the area, a press release from the Orange County of Emergency Management states.
"Crews are still working to remove debris from the area to allow traffic access," the release states. "The Mauriceville Elementary and Middle School will be closed Monday, November 2, 2020, out of caution while crews are working."