Entire town evacuated after derailed train carrying explosive gas bursts into flames

Updated: 

Entire town evacuated after derailed train carrying explosive gas bursts into flamesAP


An entire town had to be evacuated after a derailed train car carrying toxic chemicals burst into flames.

Three workers were left badly burned after the incident in Louisville, Kentucky, which forced people to flee their homes.

Officials in West Point, a town located near the fire, ordered all of its 1,000 residents to evacuate after health hazards from flames and burning chemicals became a reality.

The town was part of an evacuation within a 1.2-mile radius of the fire. The order also affected nearly 140 residences in southwest Louisville.

According to the Daily Mail, the blaze broke out while workers were using a cutting torch or welder to separate two of the cars that derailed on Monday evening, said Lt. Col. Rick Harrison, assistant chief with the suburban Buechel Fire Department.

Firefighters attempted to contain the blaze with 2,000 gallons of water a minute.

The fire was contained to a tanker car that was carrying flammable butadiene gas, officials said.

They said they were letting residual amounts of the chemical burn out and the fire was contained inside the insulated tanker car.

Butadiene is a colorless, flammable gas that can damage the central nervous system and reproductive system following exposure.

On Thursday, workers were siphoning styrene – another toxic chemical used in rubber – from one stricken railcar.

Otherwise, according to the Huffington Post, the main concern and biggest threat of danger was the cars filled with hydrogen fluoride that were within about 10 feet of the burning car.

Gerald Gupton, of the Paducah & Louisville Railway, said those cars would be carefully moved so the chemical could be removed.

Officials said it was unclear exactly how long the fire would last.


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