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Train hauling corn syrup derails near Arizona-California border

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A freight train carrying corn syrup — not hazardous materials, as first reported — derailed in western Arizona, near the state’s border with California and Nevada, BNSF Railway said.

“BNSF Railway can confirm that a train carrying corn syrup derailed near Topock in western Arizona, close to the California border” on Wednesday evening, railway spokesperson Lena Kent said in a statement.

“There were no injuries as a result of the derailment and preliminarily reports indicate there are no hazardous materials involved,” Kent said.

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A spokeswoman for the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, Anita Mortensen, said she was not aware of any spills or leaks.

The cause of the derailment of approximately eight cars is under investigation, according to Kent.

The main track is blocked, and Kent said it was not known when it would be reopened.

Ohio filed a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern to make sure it pays for the cleanup and environmental damage caused by a fiery train derailment.

March 14, 2023

The derailment comes amid heightened attention to rail safety nationwide following a fiery derailment last month in Ohio and a string of other railway incidents that have been grabbing headlines, including derailments in Michigan, Alabama and other states.

In Arizona, Mortensen had earlier said the train that derailed Wednesday was carrying hazardous materials. The derailment occurred near Milepost 9 of Interstate 40, Mortensen said, in a rural, non-residential area about 20 miles north of Lake Havasu City. Mortensen said she had no details about how many cars the train had or what materials it was carrying when it derailed.

The sheriff’s office has notified the National Transportation Safety Board and BNSF, the two entities that would be responding to the incident, Mortensen said.

Last month, a freight train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, near the Pennsylvania border, igniting a fire and causing hundreds of people to be evacuated.

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Officials seeking to avoid an uncontrolled blast intentionally released and burned toxic vinyl chloride from five rail cars, sending flames and black smoke high into the sky. That left many questioning the potential health impacts even as authorities maintained they were doing their best to protect people.

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