Train Carrying Acid Derails in Delaware

FARMINGTON, Del. (AP) _ Eight cars from a Norfolk Southern train derailed early Friday, and a small amount of acid in powder form was spilled, authorities said.

State police evacuated about 200 people from the town of Farmington but said there were no reports of injuries.

The 45-car freight train, which was carrying 15 propane tankers, derailed about 3:30 a.m., said Rudy Husband, a Norfolk Southern spokesman. The cause of the accident was not immediately known.

Seven cars _ five propane tankers and two hopper cars carrying adipic acid _ derailed together. Another propane tanker derailed farther south. Adipic acid is a raw material used to make nylon fiber, polyurethane and other products.

Husband said that less than five pounds of the powdered acid was spilled, and an environmental contractor was at the scene cleaning it up. No propane leaked from the tankers. It must be transferred from the cars, a process that could take three to four days, before the tankers can be moved, authorities said.

People living within a mile of the site were told to leave their homes, and a shelter was set up at a fire station.

``The evacuation is a precaution,'' said State Police Cpl. Harlan Blades. ``There's certainly a large potential for problems anytime those tankers aren't sitting on their tracks.''

The train was moving south from Harrington at about 25 mph when the derailment happened, Husband said. As the cars derailed, a power line was struck, causing a bright flash, he said. Power on the line was turned off afterward.

There were no reports of fires.

``The evacuation is a precaution,'' Blades said. ``There's certainly a large potential for problems anytime those tankers aren't sitting on their tracks.''

The train was supposed to stop at the DuPont nylon plant in Seaford.

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