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Railroad Car Leaks Ammonia in La Habra; 40 People Evacuated

January 14, 1988

About 40 workers at a manufacturing plant were evacuated and people living in 150 homes were told to stay inside with their windows shut late Wednesday when a railroad tank car began leaking ammonia into the air in the 1100 block of Lambert Road in La Habra, officials said.

The incident began about 5 p.m., La Habra Fire Department Capt. Glenn Schroeder said, when the people in the area smelled ammonia.

The smell was traced to a leak from a faulty valve in one of four tank cars on a Southern Pacific Railroad spur track.

About 40 workers at the nearby Rosemont Pumps plant were evacuated by fire and police called to the scene, Schroeder said.

Hazardous-materials teams from the Anaheim and Orange County fire departments succeeded in shutting off the vale at 7:55 p.m., Schroeder said.

The tank cars had been sitting on the spur line for several days, he said.

No injured were reported from the incident, and no streets were blocked off, Schroeder said.

The cause of the leakage is under investigation, he said.

About 25 firefighters from the La Habra, Anaheim and Orange County fire departments, along with officers from the La Habra Police Department, were called to handle the evacuations and warn neighbors, Schroeder said.

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