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North Louisiana families evacuated after train derails

KEATCHIE, La. (AP) — About 130 people in north Louisiana are under a mandatory evacuation Saturday after a train derailed and at least two of the cars involved began leaking hazardous products, state police said.

The Union Pacific Railroad train derailment happened about 10:30 p.m. Friday in the town of Keatchie in DeSoto Parish, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southwest of Shreveport, Louisiana State Police Trooper Jonathan Odom said.

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“The initial investigation revealed that approximately 16 cars derailed, which caused the release of a corrosive liquid,” Odom said. “In the best interest of public safety, a mandatory evacuation for everyone in a 1.5-mile radius was issued.”

Preliminary inspection showed that 16 cars derailed and at least two are leaking “an acid-related” product, the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office told KTBS-TV.

Robyn Tysver, a spokesperson for Union Pacific, said two rail cars spilled propinoic acid, which is used as a preservative, fungicide, and antimicrobial agent, and acetic anhydride, which is used in making plastics, drugs, dyes, perfumes, explosives and aspirin but there’s “no known impact to waterways at this time.”

Hazardous material crews are on site coordinating remediation and cleanup, she said.

Odom said there were no reports of injuries or fatalities but Tysver said three crew members were transported to area hospital as a precaution and have been released.

There’s no immediate word on when the evacuation order will be lifted, Odom said.

Both he and Tysver said what caused the derailment remains under investigation.