Freight train derailed in Southern California with no injury

13:55, July 28, 2011      

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A freight train derailed on Wednesday afternoon near Palmdale in Southern California, with nearby residents evacuated, local authorities said.

Although nobody had been injured, authorities were "initiating evacuations" as the wreckage raised concerns about a possible chlorine leak from one or more of the overturned carriages, Inspector Matt Levesque of the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.

The accident took place around 1:25 p.m. local time (2125 GMT) in Littlerock. 22 of about 70 carriages of the Union Pacific train were either off track or overturned. 14 of them contained the hazardous material of chlorine.

"It is pretty sparsely populated up there. Probably it is affecting only homes directly next to the train. The evacuations are just a precaution," Levesque said.

According to Levesque, the cause of the derailment was not immediately known and it could take hours to confirm if there are any actual chlorine leaks.

About 100 homes were evacuated although no leaks had been detected, Capt. Roland Sprewell of the County Fire Department said.

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