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Mecca CA, Train Derailment

Initial reports of blazes and explosions were overblown and incorrect

Last night around 9 pm, about 30 cars derailed from 65-car train headed through SoCal. About 40 homes (roughly 60 people) were evacuated but there are no reports of injuries.

The train was carrying hydrochloric and phosphoric acids, which shot up into impressive plumes of smoke Railway CrossingRailway Crossingwhen the cars went off the tracks. The derailment caused the acids to leak, leading to a chemical reaction with nearby vegetation.


Initial reports on the Associated Press were wrong though - there were no fires except for 2 railway ties.

Hydrochloric acid is used to produce fertilizers and dyes and is highly corrosive when touched or breathed in. Phosphoric acid, the milder of the two, is used to remove rust and prepare steel surfaces for painting.

Today, more than 25 trains were delayed and some were rerouted through Salt Lake City.

The 65-car train was following an intrastate route, said James Barnes, director of media information for Union Pacific, and officials don't yet know why the train jumped the tracks.

If you're in SoCal, the accident site is beside Highway 111, which has been shut down for a 7-mile stretch south of State Road 195.

Mecca has nearly 5,400 residents and is in southern Riverside County, approximately 140 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

If you're in the area, update us and let us know what's going on!

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