Crews Stop Train Car Chemical Spill

SPENCER, Ohio (AP) - Crews stopped a leak Monday of a corrosive chemical from a train's tanker car, but people living nearby remained evacuated as a precaution as the chemical was transferred into tanker trucks.

No injuries were reported from the leak, which was discovered Sunday afternoon. The leaking tanker was isolated along a stretch of track between farm fields.

The 20,000-gallon tanker car was leaking 2-ethylhexyl chloroformate at about two gallons per hour.

The chemical, which is used to make plastics, can irritate the eyes and skin on contact. Fumes, if inhaled, can irritate the lungs.

Spencer Fire Chief Scott Schmoll said from 1,500 to 2,000 gallons may have leaked.

He said about 15 to 17 families living up to one-half mile downwind were evacuated from their homes. The village hall was kept open for evacuees who didn't have elsewhere to stay.

The cause and of the leak and whether it began while the train was moving were under investigation in this rural community 35 miles southwest of Cleveland.

Schmoll said the transfer into trucks was expected to last into Monday evening. He said the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was overseeing the cleanup.

The manufacturer, PPG Industries, had representatives at the scene to help emergency crews, according to company spokesman Jeff Worden in Pittsburgh.

Worden said the shipment was headed from La Porte, Texas, to Barberton, located near Akron about 28 miles from the spill scene.

Eileen Myers, who owns 44 acres of farmland adjoining the tracks, said that when the train stopped, crows in nearby trees flew off.

"They know it's nothing they want to be around," she said.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)