Cleanup of ethanol leak at Phoenix rail yard complete - Tucson News Now

UPDATE

Cleanup of ethanol leak at Phoenix rail yard complete

A rail tanker was leaking highly flammable ethanol at a Phoenix rail yard Friday morning. (Source: CBS 5 News) A rail tanker was leaking highly flammable ethanol at a Phoenix rail yard Friday morning. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

After nearly 12 hours, the cleanup of a potentially flammable ethanol leak at a Phoenix rail yard has ended.

Crews were using caution, water and foam trucks as they tried to control the leak from a Union Pacific Railroad tanker Friday.

Firefighters were called about 4 a.m. and told ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, was escaping the tanker car at a rate of about 100 gallons an hour, said Ruben Saavedra of the Phoenix Fire Department.

Saavedra said the tanker can hold up to 30,000 gallons.

Chris Ketterer with the Phoenix Fire Department said Friday afternoon they believe roughly 10,000 gallons leaked and 20,000 gallons have been recovered.

Saavedra said ethanol is extremely flammable, and firefighters were exercising extreme caution in dealing with the leak.

Saavedra said about 50 hazmat crew members were at the scene and isolated the leak, evacuated the area and had water supplies and foam ready in the event of a fire.

Saavedra said the ethanol was leaking as vapor, which is heavier than air, and dropped to the ground. It is highly flammable, but there was no immediate threat to the public, he said.

Saavedra said firefighters and rail employees were expected to transfer the ethanol into another tanker and then deal with the leaky tanker when it was empty.

The leak was at a rail yard in an industrial area near 16th and Jefferson streets, southeast of the Chase Field baseball park.

Some local businesses were evacuated as a precautionary measure.

Ketterer said no fire erupted during the cleanup and no one was hurt.

Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News as this story develops.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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