Tampa, Florida -- The Port of Tampa has beenreopened to business traffic with permanent port credentials after a train derailed there early Thursday morning.
The train was coming into the port at 1 a.m. when it left the tracks, pullingtwelve cars off of the rails -- and sending ten of those completely onto their sides, according to Tampa Fire Rescue spokesman Capt. Lonnie Benniefield.
Responders found three of the cars leaking ethanol, a flammable liquid that's often mixed with gasoline to fuel cars and trucks. When it's shipped by rail, ethanol is usually stored in a form that is more flammable than gasoline.
Hazmat-trained firefighters have laid down a coating of firefighting foam on top of the spill to keep it from catching fire.
The toppled train is blocking the main entrance to the Port of Tampa on Maritime Boulevard, and that may be the case for several hours. Trucks were allowed to use a side road to access the port starting at around 9 a.m.
Benniefield said equipment to place the rail cars back on the tracks is being sent from Atlanta to Tampa by railroad company CSX; righting the entire train could take until late Thursday night or some time Friday morning.
No one was hurt in the train derailment, which was originally reported as involving 15 cars.Benniefield said it's not clear yet why the train jumped the tracks. CSX and government agencies are expected to investigate the cause.
Typically, ethanol breaks down within a few weeks in the environment, so the impact to the soil and groundwater may be limited and not serious.