Derailment sends chemical rail cars into NJ creek

Eighteen people are reported to be having difficulty

Eighteen people are reported to be having difficulty breathing.

PAULSBORO - People in three Gloucester County towns are being told to stay inside because of a freight train derailment.

Emergency management officials have issued the shelter-in-place advisory to residents of Paulsboro, West Deptford and East Greenwich townships. Schools in the area are on lockdown.

The Department of Environmental Protection says only one of the derailed train cars leaked vinyl chloride as a gas and all of it has since dissipated.

Several tanker cars derailed in the accident this morning on a rail bridge in Paulsboro and toppled into Mantua Creek. Part of the bridge has buckled, but the full extent of the damage is not yet known.

A Courier Post reporter says on Twitter that 42 people are seeking medical attention at Underwood Memorial Hospital in Woodbury for respiratory problems following the derailment. He says five people have already been released.

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

AP wire services contributed to this report.

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