Train Derails in New Mexico, Leaking Fumes

A freight train partially derailed in New Mexico on Monday, and emergency workers evacuated about 40 residents after chemical fumes were detected from one of the cars.


LAGUNA, N.M. (AP) -- A freight train partially derailed in New Mexico on Monday, and emergency workers evacuated about 40 residents after chemical fumes were detected from one of the cars, state police said.

Eleven cars from a 49-car Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad train derailed around 4 p.m. No injuries were reported, and state police Lt. Robert Shilling said the residents were evacuated as a precaution after officials noticed the fumes.

Steve Forsberg, spokesman for the railroad in Kansas City, said the rail cars would have to be inspected before officials could be sure any cargo leaked.

Shilling said no more than six 1-liter cans of toluene were loaded on the rail car. He said toluene, a clear liquid with a sharp smell, is not usually considered high-risk, but there was concern about the fumes and the potential for fire. Toluene is normally used in making paint, fingernail polish and paint thinner.

The cause of the derailment was not immediately known.

The derailment caused delays for Amtrak rail passengers, including travelers who were taken by bus from Albuquerque to Los Angeles, Amtrak spokesman Dan Stessel said in Washington, D.C.