On Monday, October 29, a train derailed and spilled hydrochloric acid in Clara City, Minnesota. Hundreds of residents had to be evacuated and many schools had to be closed.
The train struck another train that was parked at about 4 a.m., and at least one car leaked hydrochloric acid, a Chippewa County sheriff’s dispatcher said. Burlington Northern Santa Fe representative Steve Forsberg said an estimated 50 or more train cars were derailed.
About 400 people from the area were evacuated to a church and an entire school district had to cancel classes because of the spill.
Hydrochloric acid in high concentrations forms acidic mists. Both the mist and the solution have a corrosive effect on human tissue, potentially damaging respiratory organs, eyes, skin and intestines.
For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Toxic Substances.