tempe train

TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Two workers who were trying to transfer a chemical from a train car at the Tempe derailment and partial bridge collapse ended up getting exposed to the toxic liquid. A few hours later, a local emergency was declared for the incident. 

According to the Tempe Fire Department Assistant Chief Andrea Glass, the pair were offloading cyclohexanone from the tanker around 1:30 p.m. on Friday. They were disconnecting the hose from the car when there was a pop and the liquid was exposed. One of the workers, a 52-year-old man, was splashed in the face with the chemical. He was taken to the hospital with serious injuries but they aren't considered life-threatening.

"We did do a very thorough flushing of his eyes prior to transporting. He was able to see, he was talking," said Glass.

The other was hit in the chest. He was received medical attention at the scene and didn't need to go to the hospital.

Partially-collapsed bridge over Tempe Town Lake an important gateway for freight

Glass said the area was secured and around 2:30 p.m., the leak had stopped. Only about 10 gallons of cyclohexanone was released into a dirt area, Glass said. Experts then inspected the area and found it was safe.

"Levels were confirmed to be well-below the eight-hour exposure limits," said Glass.

It's unclear what exactly went wrong.

"We're not sure if it was due to increased heat we have here with Arizona temperatures," said Glass. "Maybe over-pressurization, or what it might be, but during that untwisting of the cap and releasing is when the fluid splashed onto the face."

Also on Friday, Tempe Mayor Corey Woods signed an emergency declaration for the derailment and partial bridge collapse. The move frees up money funding for the cleanup and repair and helps with any more response.

There still needs to be three tank cars that need chemicals offloaded. Glass said Friday's accident will delay the cleanup but she didn't say by how much.

Glass said the biggest danger with cyclohexanone is the vapors, which can irritate the skin, and the ignition temperature of 111 degrees Fahrenheit.