Authorities say a train carrying flammable and corrosive materials has derailed in Louisiana and about 100 homes have been evacuated as a precaution.
August 5, 2013

Authorities say a train carrying flammable and corrosive materials has derailed in Louisiana and about 100 homes have been evacuated as a precaution.

The homes are within one mile of the derailment. Police say at least 26 cars went off the tracks about 3:30 p.m. Sunday in Latwell, which is about 60 miles west of Baton Rouge.


"Officials added 14 of the 23 derailed cars contain potentially hazardous materials. According to the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, one car is leaking lubricant oil, a second is leaking a class 8 substance known as caustic soda and the third car was carrying a class 9 hazardous substance called Dodecanol.

Crews are working to dig ditches to contain the chemicals. Two cars containing vinyl chloride are damaged but do not appear to be leaking. About 100 homes in the immediate area of the derailment are under evacuation orders as officials continue to assess the situation.

"What we're waiting on now is to get some pressure readings on the tanks to see how much damage there is," said Trooper Scott Moreau with Louisiana State Police. "We can't see around the entire tank since they're laid over on the ground and in the trees. Once we get those readings, we'll have a better idea of if the integrity of the tanks have been compromise."

Gov. Bobby Jindal visited the site of the train derailment Sunday night to assess the scene and provide any updates in a news conference Sunday. He explained the severities of the leaks are still unknown.

Louisiana State Police said US 190 will be shut down for at least two days. There are now 101 homes that have been evacuated. The evacuation order is in effect for homes and businesses within a 1-mile radius of a train derailment."

State Police expressed they are concerned about the vinyl chloride. However, it is still unclear if any train cars containing those substances have spilled.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) web site reports that "the EPA regulates vinyl chloride in drinking water to protect public health. Vinyl chloride may cause health problems if present in public or private water supplies in amounts greater than the drinking water standard set by EPA."

The EPA web site also reports that vinyl chloride is "a colorless organic gas with a sweet odor." It is often "used in the manufacture of numerous products in building construction, automotive industry, electrical wire insulation and cables, piping, industrial and household equipment, medical supplies, and is depended upon heavily by the rubber, paper, and glass industries."

Monday morning The American Red Cross began working with families after the tragic train accident in Lawtell Sunday night.

As of right now, more than 100 homes have been evacuated and an estimated 250 people displaced because of the derailment.


"Evacuees can expect to be out their homes for several days along with both directions of hwy 190 at Frank Road being closed.

People can receive more information at the Delta Grand Theater. It's a Red Cross staging area, not open as a shelter. People can also contact Union Pacific on their claims hotline 877-877-2567."

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