Kentucky train derailment causes mass evacuations, National Guard called in


by WHAS11

Posted on October 31, 2012 at 4:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 13 at 12:56 PM

Video: Train derailment news conference

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- There has been a fire at the site of the massive train derailment. An evacuation has been ordered for anyone who lives within 1.2 miles of the fire. Highway 44 is outside the evacuation area. This includes the city of West Point Kentucky.

We are told five people have been injured. Two people have refused treatment and three are more seriously injured. One is in very critical condition, another is in critical condition and one in serious condition. The injured workers suffered second and third degree burns.

Video: Updates on workers injured in fire

There is a five mile "Shelter In Place Warning" radius that has been issued around the scene. A "code red alert" has been issed to people in a five mile radius of this fire. That means they've been asked to stay inside their homes or business, close windows and bring pets inside.

Map: Shelter in Place

The American Red Cross will open two shelters for those displaced from their homes. One is located at Muldraugh Elementary School and Stuart Middle School.

A firefighter told WHAS11 there were some workers who were using cutting torches and "the arc flashed" causing a spark. Workers were repairing the tracks damage by the derailment as a scheduled plan to be able to get the damage cars out.

As of 2:30, the Ohio River has been closed near that area to traffic.

As of 3:20, the fire is contained and fre crews are letting it burn itself out.

Phone Interview: P&L Railroad Spokesperson

A doctor on the air with WHAS says butadiene can cause respiratory problems.  WHAS11 has learned area hospitals were put on standby early Wednesday as a precaution because train cars containing dangerous chemicals were going to be moved.

Phone Interview: Medical Director, St. Mary and Elizabeth Emergency Department

Schools have also been affected by the derailment. Nichols Elementary School is under "shelter in place" until further notice. According to Bullitt Schools, this is purely a precautionary measure based on the advice of Bullitt County Emergency Management. They say schools however will be dismissing on time.

In the JCPS district, Watson Lane Elementary School dismissed early at 1:30pm Monday afternoon. Students will be transported to Valley High School for pick-up. Also, there will be no after school activities at Frost Middle School.

On Monday, 11 of 57 cars on that Paducah and Louisville Railroad train went off the tracks. One of them leaked butadine-a highly flammable chemical. 

Click here to see images of Monday's chemical spill.

The spill was contained Monday afternoon and hazmat crews handed operations over to private cleanup crews that evening. EMA officials could not trace an active leak by nighttime.

"We're getting zeros at all the air monitors deployed," Doug Hamilton, Jefferson County EMA said Monday. Dozens of homes were evacuated and residents within a two mile radius were told to stay indoors.