Hundreds received little notice before they had to evacuate Wednesday, including the entire town of West Point, when a chemical fire broke out at the site of the derailment, reports the Associated Press.
On Friday, officials said the evacuation order will stay indefinitely as a massive effort continued to move derailed train cars filled with hazardous materials away from another car, from which the chemical butadiene continued to burn for a third day.
Doug Hamilton, executive director of the Louisville Metro Emergency Management Agency, said late Friday that officials may issue another shelter-in-place order for residents within a five-mile radius on Saturday afternoon as they seek to stabilize two rail cars sitting atop each other containing hydrogen fluoride.
“It is our intent, if we do not have any problems or adverse weather tonight, it is our intent to move and level those two cars,” Hamilton told The Courier-Journal of Louisville. Crews would then begin removing the dangerous chemical.
Emergency shelters are open, but many are staying with family and friends or in motels. Paducah & Louisville Railway, which was operating the train, is offering evacuees reimbursement for lodging, food, lost wages and other expenses.
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