Residents of Perris in Riverside County have been told to evacuate due to an ongoing chemical leak that started on August 12. According to KTLA, 215 Freeway remains closed to the public, and the leak could take up to three days to entirely clear to a point of safe return.
County hazmat teams are concerned that the chemicals involved in the leak harbor the potential to cause an explosion. The entire incident is ongoing due to a railcar that is leaking a chemical known as Styrene. According to ACME Plastics, this chemical is colorless, very flammable, and is commonly found in plastic. After the chemical began to leak from the train, the wind blew its scent nearly 2-miles from the site of the initial leak. California Fire Division Chief John Crater told KTLA that mixed with the heat inside of the railcar, the Styrene could cause an explosion.
"Typically, this material would stay at about 85 degrees and currently it is at 323 degrees … it is a serious incident that can impact the infrastructure in the area,” Crater shared.
KTLA mentioned that it is currently so hot inside of the railcar that firefighters are unable to do any work near the area. Most citizens of Perris have evacuated as Hazmat teams and firefighters continue to attempt to reduce the chances of an explosion.