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Runaway Barges Stuck on Ohio River, One Carries Toxic Chemical

Runaway Barges Stuck on Ohio River, One Carries Toxic Chemical

Barges stuck in Ohio River
Kentucky EEC

The chemical is poisonous and an explosive fire hazard.

By Sara Smart, CNN

(CNN) -- Crews in Kentucky are trying to remove three runaway barges -- one of which is carrying the highly flammable compound methanol and is partially submerged in the Ohio River near Louisville -- as officials stress there's no evidence of a chemical leak.

Seven of the 10 barges that broke loose against the McAlpine Dam have been recovered as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the US Army Corps of Engineers. No injuries were reported.

The remaining three are pinned against the McAlpine Dam site, including a partially submerged barge that is carrying 1,400 tons of methanol, a spokesperson with the Louisville Emergency Management told CNN. The other barges were carrying soy and corn.

"There is currently zero evidence of a tank breach or any leaks, and air and water monitoring resources are in place," the Louisville Emergency Management said in a news release. "There is currently no impact to Louisville Water's water intake or water quality."

Methanol is an alcoholic chemical compound that's highly flammable. It's considered an alternative fuel under the Energy Policy Act of 1992, according to the US Department of Energy. Methanol was used in the 1990s as a transportation fuel but is no longer developed for that purpose, the department noted.

The US Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley has set up a unified command center with the Louisville Emergency Management Agency as the lead coordinating agency. The US Coast Guard is also investigating the incident.

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