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Toxic Train Accident in Eugene was 'Small,' but Risk of Disaster Continues

The Eugene Fire Department deployed 23 people for five hours to respond to a “small leak” of hydrochloric acid gas from a railroad tank car last night.

The city responded in moon suits and evacuated Union Pacific employees from the rail yard off the Northwest Expressway. But the city didn’t evacuate the neighborhood next to the accident.

To get money for new offices, the city is now trumpeting the chance of a few police cars getting trapped under City Hall in an earthquake. But a far more dangerous and likely hazard may be a toxic train derailment.

In 1982 a chemical car derailment forced the evacuation of Livingston, Louisiana. The chemicals burned and exploded for two weeks and were only controlled after digging a huge pit and blowing the rail cars up.

Imagine this next to the 5th Street Market or in the Whiteaker or Trainsong neighborhoods: