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Ethanol tanker emptied in Phoenix rail yard

PHOENIX — Crews recovered an estimated 20,000 gallons of flammable ethanol
alcohol on Friday after a tanker car was found to be leaking in a railroad yard
near downtown Phoenix.

Fire officials said the 30,000-gallon tanker was full when it left its
destination and about 10,000 gallons leaked.

Crews began pumping the remaining 20,000 gallons into tank trucks some eight
hours after the leak was discovered about 4 a.m. Friday. The process was
completed late Friday afternoon.

Officials decided to move and then empty the car after unsuccessful efforts to
slow or stop the leak.

An engine pushed a string of freight cars that included the tanker down the
tracks within the yard so the unloading could be done away from ground saturated
with ethanol.

Firefighters sprayed foam around the tanker to smother any fire.

The leak did not cause any injuries or evacuations in the area, but
firefighters developed an evacuation plan in case conditions change, Phoenix
Fire Department Capt. Ruben Saavedra said.

More than 50 firefighters from Phoenix and Tempe responded to the scene with
foam trucks available in case anything of the ethanol alcohol sparks, according
to Saavedra.

Investigators haven’t determined where the train cars originated or who refined
the ethanol alcohol.

Saavedra said the leak posed no immediate danger to the public, but Arizona
Department of Environmental Quality representatives were on the scene to monitor
the situation.


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