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posted: 11/30/2012 9:20 AM

Derailment sends chemical tank cars into NJ creek

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Associated Press

PAULSBORO, N.J. -- People in three southern New Jersey towns were told Friday to stay inside after a freight train derailed and several tanker cars carrying hazardous materials toppled from a bridge and into a creek.

Emergency management officials issued the advisory to residents of Paulsboro, West Deptford and East Greenwich Township as a precaution.

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At least one tanker car may contain vinyl chloride, Gloucester County Emergency Management director J. Thomas Butts told WPVI-TV.

TV helicopter footage showed at least two tankers in Mantua Creek and one hanging over a trestle, part of which is seemingly collapsed. The creek empties into the Delaware River just across from Philadelphia International Airport.

The Environmental Protection Agency said short-term exposure to high levels of vinyl chloride can cause dizziness and drowsiness.

A spokesman for the state Environmental Protection Department says officials are trying to determine what the cars were carrying.

The Gloucester County Times says 18 people are reported to be having difficulty breathing.

It's not clear what caused the derailment.

Calls to Conrail have not been returned.

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