Marlton, NJ (PRWEB) November 30, 2012
A freight train derailment in New Jersey sent multiple tanker cars carrying hazardous chemicals plummeting into a local creek that flows into the Delaware River. Authorities closed sections of Interstate 295 in the West Deptford and East Greenwich Township areas as a precaution while emergency management officials warned nearby residents to stay inside, according to the Associated Press (AP).* The several tanker cars that fell into Mantua Creek reportedly ruptured and one or more were leaking vinyl chloride – a highly-toxic chemical. Emergency responders sent as many as 18 people, who reported difficulty breathing, to local hospitals for medical treatment, reports from media outlets indicated.* The train was crossing a bridge at the time of the crash, and footage taken from the scene apparently shows a partial collapse of the structure, according to the Associated Press. Richard P. Console Jr., a personal injury lawyer in New Jersey since 1994, stresses the importance of safety and caution as crews work to clean up the damage.
“It’s important for residents to pay careful attention to the instructions of authorities and medical personnel,” Console said. “Using that information correctly can potentially limit injuries and exposure to dangerous chemicals. It may take some time before we know the full extent of the contamination, and who’s at risk to develop problems from unknowing exposure.”
Vinyl chloride is a chemical compound produced in the United States to make a wide array of plastic and vinyl products. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)** states short-term, acute exposure to high levels of the chemical can cause dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, loss of consciousness, cardiac arrhythmia, and inhibition of blood clotting. Long-term exposure can lead to life-threatening conditions, including liver damage and cancer. Classified by the EPA** as a Group A, carcinogen in humans, vinyl chloride is a colorless gas with a slightly sweet odor that is “slightly” soluble in water.
The rail bridge the Conrail train was traveling on reportedly collapsed one other time in 2009. At the time of the incident, a 50-car freight train transporting coal was passing over it, which partially derailed spilling its cargo along the Mantua Creek, according to the AP.*
Console, whose law firm of NJ personal injury attorneys has represented more than 5,000 clients, sees the dangers of this hazardous chemical leaking into the water supply.
“Chemical exposures in heavily populated areas are inherently dangerous,” Console said. “Residents were put in harm’s way and they may have had no idea of what was happening until it was too late to avoid exposure. The injuries they could sustain aren’t their fault.”
Authorities have reportedly evacuated a half-mile radius around the spill and closed the waterway until a thorough cleanup is made, according to a report from the Chicago Tribune.***
Console & Hollawell P.C. is a personal injury law firm serving accident victims in New Jersey. The firm’s award-winning attorneys are strong community advocates, participating in local food drives and charity walks in an effort to improve the lives of those less fortunate.