One of ten tankers, each filled with 30,000 gallons of propane, fell off the tracks as a train was backing up around 9 a.m., said Gary Giordano, district manager of Community Board 5, which covers Maspeth. But no gas was reported to have leaked from the tanker, Giordano said.The railway was planning to empty the gas into another tanker, a job which was estimated to take 24 hours to accomplish, Giordano said.Councilman Dennis Gallagher (R-Middle Village) said city officials told him that the site was not considered dangerous as of Tuesday evening. Officials cordoned off a four-block area at Fresh Pond Road and Metropolitan Avenue in Maspeth with yellow police tape strung between poles and police cruisers lined up along the streets. Cars were diverted from the area and the police were out in large numbers.As of 7 p.m. no pedestrians were seen at the intersection dominated by shuttered car dealerships and banks as one officer directed traffic.Officer Kevin Czartoryski, a Police Department spokesman on the scene, said most of the 153 people who were evacuated worked in businesses in the area. They were asked to leave as a safety precaution although no propane had leaked and no injuries had occurred, he said.Giordano also said a majority of the evacuees were employed by nearby businesses. Only three-one family homes were evacuated, Czartoryski said.The NYPD spokesman said the derailed tanker was tilted and leaning against a waste container.The city was waiting for two cranes to arrive from Pennsylvania to lift the tanker back in place, he said. They were expected to arrive sometime after 10 p.m.As of Wednesday, evacuees had not been allowed to return to their homes or businesses, police said. Reach reporter Nathan Duke by email at news@times
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