Paulsboro Homes Evacuated Near Derailment Site [VIDEO]
The United State Coast Guard said 106 homes were evacuated on Friday night after levels of vinyl chloride spiked in the area of the earlier train derailment.
After hours of not registering at all on sensors, the level of the chemical spiked Friday evening, prompting authorities to evacuate people from several blocks around the site of the derailment and causing investigators to conduct interviews and record checks away from the accident site.
In a Saturday morning press conference, the USCG Captain Kathleen Moore said they are spraying water on the rail cars to reduce the chemcial lever. They also said a large crane is on its way to help move the railroad cars out of Mantua Creek but it’s not known when it will arrive.
The accident happened just after 7 a.m. Friday morning when a train with two locomotives, 83 freight cars and a caboose made its way from Camden to Paulsboro.
Cars from a train operated by CSX went off the rails on a swing-style bridge, owned by Conrail, over Mantua Creek.
Seven cars derailed, including two box cars on stable ground and five on the bridge. NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman said four tankers were partially in the creek.
By late morning, state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Hajna said sensors were not detecting the chemical at the site.
But by Friday evening, Hersman said, the chemical was detected again, leading to a new evacuation order for areas close to the accident for a 12 block area reports WPVI TV.
“They told us to have our bags packed for next three days,” resident Michelle Cubler told the station.
Conrail is picking up the hotel bills for approximately 200 people reports WCAU TV.
Coast Guard Lt. Drew Madjeska, a spokesman for agencies responding to the derailment, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that residents were told they might not be allowed to return for several days, depending on the results of further air tests.
The higher readings also complicated things for investigators. Hersman said railroad officials, their contractors and other environmental experts were trying to determine the best way to get the rest of the vinyl chloride out of the ruptured tanker before further inspections could be done or the train cars could be moved.
The Associated Press contributed to this story