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Chemical Train Derailment in Great Louisville Area Triggers Evacuations

By Pottroff & Karlin LLC |

(West Point, Kentucky – October 29, 2012)

An early morning derailment of eight Paducah & Louisville Railroad freight train cars, all carrying hazardous materials, led to the forced evacuation of all homes and businesses within a mile radius of the accident site in southwestern Louisville, KY.

This derailment led to the declaration of a Level 3 HazMat alert, which is the highest level of emergency situation incident status. This status was declared because one of the car scarrying 30,000 gallons of butadiene overturned and began leaking Monday about 6:27 A.M.

Also being transported in the train’s consist were hydrochloride, sodium hydroxide, calcium carbide, hydrogen chloride, hydrochloric acid, and methyl isobutyl ketone, but even though cars loaded with some of those chemicals were among those that derailed, only the butadiene was leaking.

The accident caused the closure of a portion of Dixie Highway, a major Louisville artery, and Katherine Station Road. Firefighters from both the Pleasure Ridge Park and the Buechel Fire District responded to the call from MetroSafe for the derailment. Residents of 14 homes on Abbotts Beach Road and 20 homes on Katherine Station Road were evacuated as fire crews used a blanket of foam to contain the chemical fumes.

Exposure to butadiene, a flammable, colorless gas with a mild aromatic odor, which is a known carcinogen with long-term contamination, can cause respiratory, circulatory and skin problems due to its corrosive nature.

The Paducah & Louisville RR is a regional rail carrier, one of three operated by the Wilmington, DE-headquartered Four Rivers Transportation Corp., and is jointly owned by its management and the CSX Transportation Co., which is the majority owner.


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