Residents were allowed to return to their homes Thursday after being evacuated Wednesday afternoon when a hazmat train derailed near Palmdale.
• 580 homes were evacuated Wednesday after a Union Pacific cargo train derailed near Palmdale.
• 21 cars overturned; 14 of those were thought to be hazmat tankers.
• Cars were uprighted Thursday; no toxic chemicals were spilled.
The train accident occurred at about 1:25 p.m. on Wednesday, according to a KTLA News report. The 68-car Union Pacific cargo train was heading south to Colton when it derailed near the intersection of 92nd Street and Avenue T in Littlerock, about 10 miles southeast of Palmdale.
Union Pacific officials later said the train had only six such cars. They said all of those cars were empty, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
Fire inspector Matt Levesque said toxic residue that remains in such tank cars could have spilled, so the evacuation was necessary.
“Even after they’re empty, they can still carry quite a bit of material left in the bottom,” Levesque told the Times. “Small quantities can still cause some reason for concern.”
A hazmat team that inspected the empty cars found residual chlorine and hydrogen fluoride, according to a news story filed by the Associated Press. Los Angeles County fire inspector Don Kunitomi told the AP that experts found no leaks or spills, however.
The hazmat tank cars were designed to withstand a derailment at speeds up to 60 mph, county fire deputy chief Mike Metro said. The wheels come off on one side of the track and the tanks fall down the other side.
Union Pacific and fire crews reportedly worked through the night to upright the overturned cars. Local authorities removed the evacuation order at about 3 a.m., according to the AP report.
The cause of the derailment is still unknown. No injuries were reported. The accident remains under investigation.
Littlerock is at the northern base of the San Gabriel Mountains, which separate the Mojave Desert from the metropolitan Los Angeles area.
Here are photos of Wednesday’s train derailment near Palmdale. Click on each thumbnail to see the photo full-size.
Palmdale Train Accident Lawyers
The trial attorneys at Blackman Legal Group, a California-based law firm founded by renowned trial attorney Clifford Blackman, have successfully represented train accident victims and their families for 35 years. The nationwide toll-free number to call for a free consultation is 1-866-692-8126.