St. Landry

Aug 5, 2013 1:04 PM

Teams continue to work on Lawtell derailment clean-up

According to St. Landry Parish officials, U.S. 190 will be closed for at least two more days near Lawtell as workers try to clean up a 23-car derailment that occurred Sunday afternoon.

A Louisiana State Police hazardous material team is on the scene to help evaluate and contain the some of the train's payload of chemicals, which include lube oil and vinyl chloride.

Union Pacific representative Mark Davis apologized to the residents directly affected by the incident as well as the residents of the parish as a whole for the inconvenience the wreck has caused.

Officials said U.S. 190 will be closed for at least two more days. So far 138 people are being housed at Evangeline Downs as a result of the incident, with other families in overflow emergency housing at the Comfort Inn in Opelousas, with more people still showing up to receive aid.

According to information released during a press conference after 11 a.m. Monday morning, 1,800 feet of track will have to be repaired before the remaining rail cars can be offloaded. Of the 23 cars that left the tracks, two tanker cars leaked and are almost completely empty at this point.

At 1 p.m., there will be a staging area set up at the Yambillee building on U.S. 190 so residents can be escorted into the evacuation zones to get emergency medication or other supplies from their homes.

According to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, air quality readings at the scene are normal. DEQ will do a walk through to confirm those readings before letting any residents enter the one-mile evacuation area set up around the wrecked train.

If you have been affected by the train derailment, you can call Union-Pacific at 1-877-877-2567. Victims should listen for Option 1.

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