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Evacuees Back Home After Train Derailments in California, North Dakota

February 21, 1989

Undated (AP) _ Workers today pumped noxious gas from a derailed train in North Dakota, while dozens of derailed cars from a train carrying explosives cluttered a main street in a city east of San Francisco.

Hundreds of evacuated residents in both communities were allowed to return to their homes Monday night, authorities said.

In Bordulac, N.D., residents had fled a white gas cloud released after a train carrying anhydrous ammonia derailed Monday. Two farmers who inhaled the gas were listed in stable condition today at the Carrington Health Care Center.

Twenty-six cars on the Soo Line train derailed, including two cars loaded with the ammonia. The two cars, each with a capacity of 30,000 gallons, spewed their entire cargo into the air.

″It takes your breath from you, and if you ever was in one, you would know what it was like,″ Carrington Fire Chief Pete Kautzman said of the gas cloud.

Authorities did not know the cause of the derailment.

In Manteca, Calif., a train hauling explosives and hazardous materials hit a broken section of rail, sending 48 cars off the tracks. About 100-150 people evacuated were back home Monday night, Fire Capt. John Tardiff said today.

No one was injured when the 82-car train, en route from Houston to Oakland, derailed just before 6 a.m. Monday, police said.

Rail cranes were dispatched to help right the cars cluttering South Main Street in the San Joaquin Valley city of 40,000 about 65 miles east of San Francisco. Police said it could take two days to complete the cleanup.

The line could be reopened later today, Southern Pacific spokesman Jim Loveland said.

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