According to Cal Fire Riverside County Division Chief John Crater, the Riverside County Fire Department responded to reports of a large plume of smoke from a rail car parked on the tracks near Harville and Oleander Avenues in Paris at around 7:40 p.m. Thursday. during a news conference Friday morning. He said a Hazmat team was deployed at the spot.
Crater said residents and businesses within a half-mile radius of the affected area were ordered to evacuate, and parts of Interstate 215 were closed as officials worked to contain the threat. At least 170 residents were evacuated to safer places by Friday morning, officials said.
“Usually, the chemical stays at around 85 degrees, but it had reached at least 323 degrees. The crater called it a serious condition “that could affect infrastructure in the area.”
According to officials, the temperature has come down to at least 304 degrees by 6 am on Friday.
Crater said he was talking to experts across the country who told him it could take up to three days for the situation to calm down. “It could get worse before it gets better,” Crater said, adding that if heat and pressure builds up in the car, it could lead to some “violent explosions.”
“We are still in a very critical situation,” Crater said.
Officers cannot currently approach the train car, “which is red hot,” Carter said. The train was stopped as soon as the incident was reported.
Officials are monitoring whether outside temperatures could affect activity inside the affected rail car as the day passes.
According to the Riverside County Fire Department WebsiteEvacuation orders are in place north of Markham Street, east of Donna Lane, south of Nandina Avenue and west of Patterson Avenue. A shelter was set up at Pinckett Middle School for those evacuated from the immediate area.
Officials said Metrolink trains will also not be available through the evacuation zone.
215 is closed in both directions south of Van Buren and north of the Ramona Expressway.