The 88-car train was delivering ethanol to the port about 1 a.m. when 14 of the cars left the rails and three toppled, spilling their cargo, said Capt. Lonnie Benniefield with Tampa Fire Rescue.
The chemical is water soluble and crews had nearly finished cleaning it up by 10 a.m.
“It could have been a different chemical, it could have been a different time of day, it could have been a lot worse,” Benniefield said. “We were very fortunate.”
Port and rail officials were waiting for the arrival of heavy equipment from Atlanta to right the cars and clear the track. The work is expected to take 18 to 24 hours.