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Hazmat team dispatched after train derails in Minnesota

Authorities have issued a stay-in-place order after a Union Pacific train derailed in southern Minnesota Saturday. Image via Albert Lea Police Department/Facebook
Authorities have issued a stay-in-place order after a Union Pacific train derailed in southern Minnesota Saturday. Image via Albert Lea Police Department/Facebook

May 15 (UPI) -- Authorities have issued a precautionary shelter-in-place order and dispatched a hazmat team to the Minnesota site where Union Pacific train derailed Saturday.

According to a statement issued by Union Pacific, about 28 cars on a Union Pacific train derailed at about 1:45 p.m. near Albert Lea, a town in the southern part of the state.

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At 8:55 EDT Union Pacific sent an update to UPI saying two cars on the train, which was carrying mixed materials, were carrying hydrochloric acid.

The company is working with emergency responders to determine a response plan, Union Pacific spokeswoman Kristen South said in the statement.

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Hydrochloric acid is used in the production of chlorides, fertilizers, and dyes, and in the photographic, textile, and rubber industries, and is highly corrosive, according to a fact sheet published by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Hydrochloric acid can burn and scar the skin on contact, and oral exposure can cause corrosion of the mucous membranes, esophagus, and stomach. Those who inhale the chemical may experience respiratory irritation or inflammation, the EPA said.

According to a Facebook post from the Albert Lea Police Department, a hazmat team from Rochester, Minn., has been dispatched to help with "material load containment" at the site of the accident near a lake.

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Authorities have issued a precautionary shelter in place order but have also said there does not seem to be any airborne contamination.

The cause of the derailment is under investigation, UP said.

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