Jun 6, 2014 3:22 PM by Dave Fields
The Lafayette Fire Department (LFD) reports that the process of transferring chlorine from one railcar to another is still ongoing Friday afternoon at the site where a leaking BNSF railcar was capped last night.
LFD officials said they are working closely with railway officials in what is described as a "slow process" of "off-loading" the material that may be concluded tonight.
LFD Hazardous Material (HazMat) team assessed the area and realized that the smell was coming from the BNSF switch yard. They examined several railcars and found one that was releasing chlorine gas from a relief valve. A LFD spokesperson said that the employees at LUS and ABF Trucking Company were evacuated as a safety precaution. Emergency crews from Lafayette Fire Department, Lafayette HazMat Team, Lafayette Police, DEQ, Louisiana State Police HazMat, Homeland Security, and Acadian Ambulance remained on scene till 1 a.m. Friday morning.
According to an LFD release this morning, monitoring machines were deployed near two neighborhoods to assess air quality. The release explained that "residents near Hebert Road and Saucier Parkway were initially informed to shelter in place till air quality was determined." According to the release, "air quality was deemed safe in the two residential neighborhoods."
Lafayette firefighters said that they first responded to the 1300 block of Walker Road and LUS in order to investigate a strange smell reported first reported by employees of a nearby business.