Tanker Spills 30,000 Gallons of Ethanol in Kansas Train Derailment

SOUTH HUTCHINSON, Kansas (AP) -- Three freight train cars derailed, causing a tanker to spill 30,000 gallons (113,500 liters) of highly flammable ethanol into a ditch and forcing evacuations of about 50 homes, authorities said.

No injuries were reported in the Tuesday night incident.

The 17-car Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad train was headed to Hutchinson from Wichita, cities about 50 miles (80 kilometers) apart, when two tankers and an empty grain car jumped the track in a residential neighborhood, said Jim Wineland, general manager of the K&O.

One of the tankers tipped, spilling the ethanol into a water-filled ditch, said Scott Jones, police chief for South Hutchinson. Crews were sent in early Wednesday to upright the other derailed car, which had not spilled its load.

Evacuees were being housed in a church, and classes at a nearby elementary school were canceled Wednesday. Nearby businesses and government offices were expected to remain closed.

A hazardous material team and firefighters were at the scene Wednesday, Jones said. He said sand and foam were poured onto the spill to help prevent the ethanol from igniting.

Jones said he didn't know what caused the derailment.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press