Acid Leaks after Train Derailment

Acid Leaks after Train Derailment
By: Ryan Tate, Christy Hendricks & AP

PADUCAH, Ky. - More than 1,900 pounds of hydrochloric acid spilled out of a train car in Paducah Thursday, causing evacuations, and emergency responses.
Four railroad cars derailed at the P&L Railroad Yard after some cars tried to switch tracks.  The cars tipped to the side with hydrochloric acid leaking out of one of them.
Emergency management official told residents within about a half-mile radius to evacuate their homes as a precaution. 
Contractors from Memphis and St. Louis came to the site with eight semi trucks to upright the cars and empty the material from the trains.
Red Cross and Mercy Regional stayed on hand to assist folks and for precautionary needs during the draining process.
The leak was later stopped and a hazardous materials team conducted tests to make sure the air was safe enough for people to return.
Residents are now being allowed to return to their homes.  No injuries have been reported.
According to Dr. Philip Crawford, Chairperson of the Chemistry Department at Southeast Missouri State University, hydrochloric acid is a colorless, fuming liquid, with a very strong, pungent odor.  It is extremely corrosive and can burn, dissolve, or eat away at another substance.
Companies use hydrochloric acid for industrial uses, and manufacturing processes.  It is also used in chemistry classes, in most cases, in diluted forms.
If people come in contact with hydrochloric acid, Dr. Crawford says to wash it off immediately with water.