A Paulsboro woman has filed a $10 million lawsuit against Conrail and its parent companies because of the train derailment that released a toxic chemical into the air and water.

Alice Breeman filed the suit in federal district court in Camden, seeking more than $150,000 in compensation for injuries and at least $10 million in punitive damages.

The suit, apparently the first to be filed as a result of the derailment, came a week after last Friday's accident forced the evacuation of more than 700 area residents.

Breeman claims that she and her three minor children suffered physical and mental injuries and the loss of current and future income because the accident, which the suit blamed on negligence by Conrail and its employees.

The suit claims that Conrail failed to properly inspect and maintain the Paulsboro swing bridge over Mantua Creek and that Conrail employees negligently operated the train against a red signal, causing the derailment and chemical spill.

A Conrail spokesman did not immediately have a response to the lawsuit.

The derailment last Friday ruptured one of several cars carrying toxic vinyl chloride, releasing the chemical into the atmosphere and the creek. Recovery crews under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Coast Guard are still working to remove the damaged cars so that residents can return to their homes.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Camden against Conrail and its parent companies, Norfolk Southern Railway Corp. and CSX Transportation Inc.

Contact Paul Nussbaum at 215-854-4587 or pnussbaum@phillynews.com