CSX Freight Train Derails In Washington D.C., 9 Cars Overturned, Hazardous Material Leaking

A CSX freight train has derailed in Washington D.C.., near the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station Sunday morning leaving several cars overturned and resulting in a leak of hazardous materials.

Doug Buchannan, a spokesman for the D.C fire department, said as many as nine cars have derailed and at least three are leaking hazardous material. The incident happened at 6:40 a.m. Sunday.

According to WTOP, Rhode Island Avenue was closed in both directions from 4th to 10th streets in Northeast as of 7:30 a.m.  The Red Line’s Rhode Island Station is also closed. Metro said it would establish bus shuttle service between the NoMa and Brookland stations. No injuries were immediately reported.

D.C. Fire officials told WTOP they do not know what kind of substance is leaking, however News4’s Mark Segraves reported multiple sources at the scene said at least one of the chemicals is sodium hydroxide. Also known as lye and caustic soda, the odorless chemical may generate substantial heat when dissolved in water, which may be sufficient to ignite combustible materials, according to the Center for Disease Control.

The CDC said it can create eye and skin irritation and burns when exposed. It is also damaging to the respiratory system if the fumes are inhaled.

According to a CSX statement, the train was traveling from Cumberland, Maryland to Hamlet, North Carolina, when it derailed near 9th Stree and Rhode Island Avenue. The train has three locomotives and 175 total cars, including 94 cars loaded with frieght and 81 empty cars.

This is a developing story.