A hydrochloric acid leak was detected as an Eastbound train was in a siding area awaiting a second train's passing. Joe Faust, BNSF spokesperson said, while the cars were sitting in the siding area awaiting the second train to pass, routine inspections were performed. "A train crew reported vapors coming from the rear car on the train that was sitting, as they passed. Operators reported having a strong metallic taste in their mouths." Faust went on to say, "While the car was compromised and the chemical was determined to be hydrochloric acid, there was some spill out. It was very minimal, confined to the siding area, which was at Baker, near Hardy."
See said, "Once the leak was detected, we called the hazardous materials crew because there was no way we were taking a chance on taking the train through Hardy."
After the chemical smell was detected, officials with BNSF, including Gene See, of Thayer, jumped into action. Sharp County Police Department and Hardy Police Chief Ernie Rose secured the area, so the public could not gain access to the spill area until the damages were surveyed. Hazardous materials teams from Walnut Ridge, Salem, Cherokee Village and other departments were called to help secure the area.
B and P Enterprises, an environmental response team from Southaven, Mississippi, who are subcontracted by BNSF, were dispatched to the spill area. The group arrived quickly and, after BNSF officials secured the track, the men were able to suit up and begin to analyze the situation.
Faust said, "Upon further inspection by the environmental team on the scene, the car was released before 1 p.m. to move forward." BNSF could not report with absolute certainty the reason the leak occurred, but did describe the amount as being "minute." It has yet to be determined if the leak was a manufacturer defect in the rail car or a pressure defect.
See said the company would be in contact with the manufacturer.
Faust, said, "Whenever these type of incidents occur, we take them very seriously and investigate thoroughly. While there was some spillage, we were in control of the situation in a very brief time and the car was allowed to move forward. There was no evacuation or danger to residents or employees."