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Ethanol tanker emptied in Phoenix rail yard

PHOENIX -- Crews recovered an estimated 20,000 gallons of flammable ethanol alcohol on Friday after a tanker car was found to be leaking in a railroad yard near downtown Phoenix.

Fire officials said the 30,000-gallon tanker was full when it left its destination and about 10,000 gallons leaked.

Crews began pumping the remaining 20,000 gallons into tank trucks some eight hours after the leak was discovered about 4 a.m. Friday. The process was completed late Friday afternoon.

Officials decided to move and then empty the car after unsuccessful efforts to slow or stop the leak.

An engine pushed a string of freight cars that included the tanker down the tracks within the yard so the unloading could be done away from ground saturated with ethanol.

Firefighters sprayed foam around the tanker to smother any fire.

The leak did not cause any injuries or evacuations in the area, but firefighters developed an evacuation plan in case conditions change, Phoenix Fire Department Capt. Ruben Saavedra said.

More than 50 firefighters from Phoenix and Tempe responded to the scene with foam trucks available in case anything of the ethanol alcohol sparks, according to Saavedra.

Investigators haven't determined where the train cars originated or who refined the ethanol alcohol.

Saavedra said the leak posed no immediate danger to the public, but Arizona Department of Environmental Quality representatives were on the scene to monitor the situation.

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