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Train derailment continues to keep residents out of their home

Over 20 tank cars derailed, 14 with hazardous chemicals

Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - 3:09pm

Late Sunday afternoon just outside of Lawtell more than twenty Union Pacific tank cars derailed, fourteen of them with hazardous materials.  But before crews can figure out why the cars derailed, before they can even move the cars they have to fix 1800 feet of track.

"I want to apologize to the residents in the area for the inconvenience.  We've caused to them we sincerely appreciate their patience while we work on the incident," says Mark Davis, spokesperson for Union Pacific.

Work that could take up to three days.  It's frustrating for people like Paige Wiltz who lives near the tracks.  She and anyone else within a one mile radius were asked to evacuate.

"I was hoping that it wasn't that serious and that we wouldn't have to stay overnight, and that it was go for a couple of hours and you can come back home, but unfortunately it wasn't," says Paige Wiltz, evacuee.

And it's not sitting well with Bunny Farrow either.  She's here from Florida visiting her family.

I had to spend my last forty dollars on a hotel room last night.  It has not been the best vacation," says Bunny Farrow, evacuee.

But right now crews are more worried about three tank cars holding vinyl chloride, a highly flamible and poisonous fluid.

Keep in mind though it's fluid.  As we move cars around and fool with them there's always that possiblity, which is why we have to keep the road closed, and we have to keep the evacuation in place," says Colenol Mike Edmonson, superintendent of state police.

LA 190 will stay closed at least through late tomorrow morning, but state police, the DEQ, the EPA, the St Landry Sheriffs Office, and Union Pacific crews will be working throughout the night to get things cleaned up.  Right now they're number one priority is to keep everyone safe and able to return to their homes as soon as possible.

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