People Return Home After Chemical Leak

A dispatcher for the Fulton Police Department says people forced to leave their homes when hydrochloric acid was spilled from a railroad tanker should begin returning home this morning.

Donna Cook says the acid is being off-loaded into tanker trucks and there have been no apparent leaks during the process. There have been no injuries reported.

The evacuation stretched up to three-quarters of a mile from the rail yard where the tanker had been leaking. Fulton City Manager Kenney Etherton says as many as 200 homes were evacuated along with two schools. Shelters were set up at two area churches.

Emergency Management spokesman Paul Maxwell says the hazardous
materials teams slowed the leak to a "trickle" late last night.

The tanker is part of a train owned by Canadian National Railroad. A railroad spokesman says it appears the inner liner of the tanker failed, allowing the chemical to eat through the outer shell of the car.

Maxwell says the tanker originally contained 187-thousand pounds of hydrochloric acid, but he doesn't know how much has leaked.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)