Chem Tanker Cars Derail, Evac Ordered

Thursday, May 21, 2015 @ 04:05 PM gHale

Six tanker cars, three of them carrying caustic or hazardous chemicals derailed Tuesday in Addis, LA, triggering a state of emergency and the mandatory evacuation of residents around the scene, officials said.

West Baton Rouge Parish Office of Homeland Security ordered everyone within 1,000 feet to leave the area, in about 35 homes, while workers right the cars. Authorities said the chemical cars, pulled by a Union Pacific locomotive, were carrying sodium hydroxide, better known as lye; propylene oxide, an eye and respiratory irritant, and propylene dichloride, a strong acid.

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People within 300 feet were going to end up evacuated until Wednesday morning, officials said. The cars didn’t appear to suffer damage and the evacuations were precautionary, they added.

The Addis VFW Hall was the emergency shelter. Addis is across the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge.

West Baton Rouge Parish President Riley Bertholet Jr. declared a local disaster emergency, and Addis police were going door to door Tuesday night to alert residents and assist with the evacuation, the homeland security office said.

Damaged track, not speed or operator error, was the possible cause of the derailment, which happened about 1:30 p.m. central time, authorities said.

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