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Train Derails in Southern California, Spilling Chemicals

October 25, 1995

SHAFTER, Calif. (AP) _ A freight train carrying chemicals derailed early today in Southern California, injuring about 30 people who were exposed to a refrigerant spilled from one of the cars.

The Santa Fe Railroad train derailed in a residential area of Shafter, about 15 miles northwest of Bakersfield, just after 1 a.m., Kern County Fire Department Capt. Kevin Scott said. Fifteen cars overturned.

Residents within a half-mile of the accident were evacuated.

But many were drawn to the scene and inhaled chlorodiflouromethane, a colorless, odorless refrigerant gas. Of the 29 people treated, 12, including two police officers, were treated at hospitals and 17 at the scene.

Scott described all the injuries as minor.

Exposure to chlorodiflouromethane can cause breathing difficulties and rapid heartbeat. In prolonged doses it can cause serious injury or death, Scott said.

It was not immediately clear how many cars the train has; the cause of the derailment was not known.

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