Southern California chemical leak: Riverside County homes evacuated

A chemical leak from a railroad tanker-train car led officials in Southern California on Friday to shut down a major freeway and evacuate more than 100 homes amid fears of an explosion. 

Officials said the train car was leaking a chemical called styrene, which is used to make plastic products. Styrene is a highly flammable substance that can cause skin and eye irritation and is toxic if inhaled, according to the National Institutes of Health. One of the main concerns was that the car would explode as pressure built up inside the car and temperatures rose during the day. 

The train car was stopped on a railway that runs parallel to the 215 freeway, near commercial businesses and a residential neighborhood just north of Perris, California, 75 miles inland from Los Angeles. Styrene is typically kept at about 85 degrees, but temperatures in the container had reached at least 323 degrees, officials said. 



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