PA Firefighters Battle 23-Hour-Long Chemical Fire

More than 150 firefighters from three counties responded to a chemical fire that erupted at a rail transfer station in Rapho Township, Pennsylvania on the morning of Tuesday, July 2.

The fire occurred when a railway tanker car carrying 30,000 gallons of butane began to leak, igniting a fire that burned for 23 hours. Firefighters constantly sprayed the tanker car and nine surrounding rail cars that were carrying butane and propane.

As a result of the fire, a worker was severely burned and taken to a burn center for treatment.

Fourteen patients were transferred from a nearby hospice where a mandatory evacuation was issued. An evacuation advisory was also issued to nearby trailer park residents. Amtrak Keystone Service was suspended between Lancaster and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for a portion of Tuesday.

Early indicators point to a failed compressor as the cause of the fire.

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Train derailments are a common cause of chemical fires that require firefighters to battle dangerous fires for extended periods of time. For more stories of train derailments and related fires see RFA Responds to IL Freight Train Derailment, NH Firefighters Rescue Victims of Train Derailment, and Fire at Kentucky Chemical Train Derailment Site Burns Three

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