Have complained of runny noses, coughing; clean up continues

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

San Diego - More than 40 San Diego residents continued to be housed at a local hotel in Alice as clean up efforts from a train derailment proceeded through Monday.

The residents have complained of respiratory problems including coughing, watery eyes and runnynoses, city officials said.

Mayor Alonzo Lopez said residents could be moving back soon.

"As soon as they finish taking all of the dust, they can start coming back to their homes," he said.

Lopez said that some residents near the accident also sustained damage to their homes from the train impact.

"A couple of houses were damaged and had cracked sheet rock," he said.

On Sept. 2 about 1 a.m., San Diego residents woke up to loud noises as eight boxcars derailed between Dix and King streets near a curvy part of the tracks on the west part of town.

The train cars were carrying grain and corn and Southern City Kansas workers began their clean up when residents started suffering from the dust in the air, city officials said.

"They were supposed to finish Monday, as far as removing the grain," said Vic Casas with the Municipal Utility District. "They still need to continue the excavations and removing the box cars."

A large vacuum-like hose sucked up the grain from inside the flipped boxcars as the grain is transferred onto a truck to remove it from the accident scene.

The train derailment occurred in a five-block stretch in the middle of a residential area.

On Monday several box cars still laid on their side between Dix and King Street, some only a few feet away from homes.