Derailment at Port of Tampa

Fire crews spray foam on ethanol leaking from 3 derailed cars of CSX freight train at Port of Tampa in Florida July 25, 2013, seeking to keep the chemical from catching fire. Fifteen cars derailed in all. WTSP-TV

Last Updated 9:18 a.m. ET

TAMPA, Fla. Firefighters in Florida are using foam to try prevent ethanol from igniting at the scene of a freight train derailment at the Port of Tampa.

The ethanol was leaking from three cars of a CSX freight train that left the tracks early Thursday. At least a dozen cars derailed in all, officials said.

Tampa Fire Rescue Capt. Lonnie Bonniefield told CBS' Tampa affiliate WTSP that equipment has to be brought in from Atlanta to get the cars upright. He says the operation could take up to a day to complete.

The main portion of the Port of Tampa is closed and may stay blocked off for much of the day. The port remained open to ship traffic, but port officials told CBS News access roads to about half the port are closed, keeping workers from getting to their jobs.

Click on the video player above for a report from the scene by CBS Affiliate WTSP.

The train was coming into the port at 1 a.m. when it left the tracks, pulling twelve cars off of the rails, and sending ten of those completely onto their sides, according to Capt. Benniefield.

When shipped by rail, ethanol is usually stored in a form that is more flammable than gasoline.

No one was hurt in the train derailment, which was initially reported to involve 15 cars. Benniefield said it's not clear yet why the train jumped the tracks. CSX and government agencies are expected to investigate the cause.

Typically, ethanol breaks down within a few weeks in the environment, so the impact to the soil and groundwater may be limited and not serious.

Comments