Large-Scale HazMat Averted on Rail Lines Near the Port

Tuesday, September 06, 2011 |

LAFD Squad 48WILMINGTON - An inbound freight-train from Texas was discovered to be prematurely offloading one if its "intermodal" railcars, earlier today. The "stable, but flammable liquid" was identified as "Pentanol" and was seen pouring from what was described as a "small crease in its belly," at a rate of approximately 3-5 gallons a minute. The leak was discovered by a passerby, as the train sat idle, awaiting inspection. The cause of the leak was to be investigated by rail authorities.

The incident warranted a full response by the LAFD's Hazardous Materials (HazMat) Squads from the surrounding areas, including Squads 48, 95 and 21 as well as nearly 60 Firefighters. Upon arrival, Battalion Chief Gomez made the swift decision to close the 1300 block of North Alameda Street to through traffic from Pacific Coast Highway to Sepulveda Boulevard, as a precaution. The mostly industrial business area, however, did not require evacuation.

With the Squads in place and now ready for entry, the other elements of the HazMat response, including Decontamination, Fire Suppression, Rescue and a Medical Component, were also deployed. After being able to assess the problem up-close, the experts quickly determined it was a leak that could not be stopped. The Unified Command, with representatives from LACo Health & HazMat, LAPD, DOT and the Union Pacific Railroad, decided it best to bring in private "vacuum trucks" to offload the remaining product. These trucks were requested early, having anticipated the need and thereby reducing the wait time.

When the incident was finally declared static and the hazard abated, nearly 5 hours later, a total of some 4700 gallons of "Pentanol" were offloaded. Despite the hazards involved, including the 90 degree heat beating down on all members suited-up in their specialized equipment, there were no injuries or illnesses reported. More good news was the leak required minimal clean-up and had little environmental impact, as most if the product quickly evaporated.

E38 RA38 RA36 E40 T48 E248 SQ48 E94 EM9 BC6 E36 RA848 HM94 E95
T95 E295 SQ95 E85 FT36 EM6 RT40 RA857 BC13 E88 E49 SQ21 RA15 E85

Submitted by Matt Spence, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department


Anonymous said...

HazMat Experts and Firefighters petition Dow Chemical and Union Pacific for safe rail tank cars transporting gas chlorine. Secondary containment is a necessary improvement that must be implemented. See--PETITION C KIT for First Responders Comments.

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