WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A CSX train derailed about 6:40 a.m. in Washington and leaked sodium hydroxide, according to Doug Buchanan, a D.C. fire department spokesman.
The material is not combustible but when it comes into contact with moisture or water, it can generate sufficient heat to ignite combustible substances, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
CNN asked Buchanan if there was any danger of fire after the derailment, which resulted in no injuries or evacuations from nearby homes and businesses.
"There is no greater danger to the community due to this derailment," he said.
He blasted some media reports that suggested otherwise.
The train derailed near the Rhode Island Avenue metro station. The major thoroughfare in D.C. was shut down for hours.
The leak was contained by around noon, Buchanan said.
Nine to 10 cars derailed, Buchanan said. Workers, including those who specialize in hazardous materials, were at the site. The Federal Railroad Administration is leading an investigation into the derailment.
The train was traveling from Cumberland, Maryland, to Hamlet, North Carolina. It carried 175 cars, 94 of them loaded with mixed freight, CXS spokeswoman Kristin Seay said.
One car contained sodium hydroxide, which is used to make household products such as paper and soap.