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Accident at Louisville Derailment Site Causes Second Evacuation, Injuring Five

By Pottroff & Karlin LLC |

(Louisville, Kentucky – October 31, 2012)

Five contract hazardous material remediation workers were injured early Wednesday afternoon when an accident caused a second release and fire to the butadiene they were attempting to transload from an overturned tank car to other tanker vehicles following an early Monday morning derailment that had triggered an earlier evacuation of homes, schools and businesses within a mile radius of the Paducah & Louisville Railroad site of the derailment.

On Monday, at least 13 cars of a 57-car P&L freight train carrying a variety of hazardous materials, derailed near the Kentucky community of West Point, just southwest of Louisville, KY.

An EMA official confirmed that contract personnel working on the overturned tanker accidentally ignited chemical vapors from the leaking butadiene. The men were all employees of the R. J. Corman Co., which provides a large variety of railroad-related services, including derailment cleanup.

Once again, the Louisville Metro Emergency Management Agency ordered an evacuation, this time of a 1.2 mile radius of the site shortly after 12:00 noon. Three of the workers were hospitalized with mild to severe burns from contact with the chemical fire, while two others received treatment on the scene.

The Wednesday evacuation not only caused inconvenience for residents and business owners in the area, but also disrupted school at several Jefferson County Public Schools. The order included a “shelter in place” operation, which confined resident and their pets inside their homes, with all windows and doors shut and HVAC systems shut down. Traditional Halloween activities were being postponed to this coming Monday to keep trick-or-treaters from any danger posed by the leaking, burning chemical.

As an additional precaution, the U.S. Coast Guard closed a two-mile stretch of the Ohio River which was in the vicinity of the derailment site to all river traffic.


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