Train carrying chemical derails near Tronox plant

October 26, 2010 11:43:00 AM

Garthia Elena Burnett -


A train carrying hydrogen peroxide derailed in Hamilton at about 9 a.m. Monday morning. 


Monroe County Sheriff Andy Hood said his department had a report of the train derailment, off of Stovall Bottom Road, in a rural area. 


Columbus Air Force Base''s hazmat teams and the Columbus Fire Department responded to the scene and secured it for several hours before a contractor for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway took over. 


"We had a trained get derailed and several cars come off the track. In those cars, we had three cars that were overturned and had hydrogen peroxide," said Martin Andrews, CFD battalion chief. 


"Out of those three cars that were turned over, two were letting some of their contents out," Andrews said, noting this is a built-in mechanism, "so it wouldn''t build up pressure and explode." 


While household hydrogen peroxide is 2 to 3 percent, the chemical being transported was 50 and 70 percent, Andrews said. 


At that concentration, the substance is highly flammable and can burn skin. 


Since the hydrogen peroxide was not draining into ditches or onto any wood, the contracted team planned to keep it wet, for safety, and turn the cars upright, which could take up to 24 hours, Andrews said. 


The site was about 500 yards west Old Highway 45, near the Tronox chemical plant.  


A BNSF Railway spokesman told WTVA-TV that two lead locomotives and 13 cars left the tracks shortly before 9 a.m. 


BNSF officials are looking into a report strong storms in the area overnight may have caused a tree to fall across the tracks. 


This story contains reporting from The Associated Press.