Train Derailment: Evacuation, Road Closures Expected to Last At Least 24 Hours

Update: 5:40 p.m.

Evacuations and the shelter-in-place warning are still in effect late Monday afternoon after the morning train derailment in southwestern Jefferson County, said Jody Duncan, the MetroSafe spokeswoman. A shelter is being set up at the Nichols Fire Station No. 3 at 130 Meicel Lane in Bullitt County, about nine miles west of Shepherdsville.

Anyone who wants use the shelter space is asked to call the Red Cross at 561-3642.

Crews were still attempting to contain the leak; the evacuation and shelter-in-place warning may last into Tuesday morning, Duncan said.

Update: 4:25 pm

Crews are still working to stop the butadiene leak caused by a train derailment in southwestern Jefferson County. In an email, Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection On-Scene coordinator Kevin Strohmeier wrote:

“Butadiene is sort of like propane in that it is a liquid only at low temperatures and/or higher pressure.  If there is anything left in the car it will be transferred to another car.  If there is a large leak and it comes out as a liquid, there might be some soil contamination that will have to be dug up or modified to allow volatilization.  At this point, we don’t know what the situation is with tank contents.”

Hazmat crews are on the scene. But even after they’re done containing the leak and righting the railroad cars, there’s still work to be done. MetroSafe spokeswoman Jody Duncan says federal environmental officials and private contractors hired by the railroad will work to mitigate the site after the leak is contained.

“It depends on how bad it is out there, actually,” she said. “Are they going to dig up areas of the ground where it fell, and are they going to replace the rail and the railroad ties and stuff like that. So it just depends, and they’re going to find out afterward what all they have to do.”

Update: 12:45 p.m.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has issued detours with Dixie Highway expected to be closed in southwestern Jefferson County into Tuesday morning because of a train derailment near the Jefferson County line.

Motorists traveling southbound on Dixie Highway are being advised to instead take Ky. 841 east to southbound Interstate 65, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said. Motorists traveling northbound on Dixie are advised to take the Joe Prather Highway (Ky. 313) in Hardin County to northbound I-65.

Update: 11:10 a.m.

EMA/MetroSafe is now saying the evacuation and road closures will likely last 24 hours after the incident.

Update: 10:55 a.m.

The evacuations and road closures caused by a train derailment and chemical leak in southwestern Jefferson County will likely last for at least 14 hours.

The train was carrying lots of different chemicals, but so far the only one that appears to be leaking is butadiene. Some residents living near Abbot Beach Road in Jefferson County and Katherine Station Road in Bullitt County have been evacuated, and there’s a shelter-in-place warning for those within a two mile radius of the spill.

MetroSafe spokeswoman Jody Duncan says the road closure and evacuation will continue at least 14 hours, because that’s how long it will take to clean up the leak. But the area could be affected for longer.

Update: 10:30 a.m.

Here are five things you should know about butadiene.

Update: 9:50 a.m.

The shelter-in-place warning from the train derailment in southwestern Jefferson County has been expanded to 2  miles, EMA/MetroSafe said.

No further evacuations have been ordered.

Update: 9:30 a.m.

The flammable chemical butadiene is leaking Monday morning after a train derailment in southwestern Jefferson County near Dixie Highway, said Jody Duncan, a spokeswoman for EMA/MetroSafe.

The evacuation on Abbotts Beach Road is affecting about 20 homes, Duncan said. The shelter-in-place warning remains in effect for a mile-radius of the train derailment.

No injuries were reported in the derailment or aftermath, though a hunter was reportedly near the scene when the derailment happened, Duncan said.

Bullitt County authorities have evacuated parts of Katherine Station Road, Duncan said.

About 20 homes have been affected by the train derailment in southwestern Jefferson County, said Jody Duncan, spokeswoman for EMA/MetroSafe.

Barge traffic was also halted after the train derailment, Duncan said.

WFPL will bring you more as information becomes available.

Earlier:

The derailment of a train carrying chemicals on Dixie Highway near the Jefferson County line early Monday has caused authorities to evacuate homes on Abbott Beach Road, MetroSafe/EMA said. Bullitt County officials are also evacuating residents on Katherine Station Road. Nearby residents have been warned to shelter in place.

A Level 3 HazMat incident–the highest possible designation–has been declared. MetroSafe spokeswoman Jody Duncan says crews are working to check for leaks to see if any chemicals were spilled. The train was carrying chemicals including:

  • hydrogen fluorides
  • hydrochloric acid
  • sodium hydroxide
  • butadiene
  • styrene monomer
  • methyl isobutyl ketone
  • calcium carbide

The derailment happened at about 6 a.m. and no injuries were immediately reported, MetroSafe/EMA said.

Authorities are warning people within a mile radius of the derailment to stay indoors until further notice, and a civilian no-fly zone has been instituted for a five-mile radius from the accident. Johnson says she’s not sure where the train was headed, but it was going south from Louisville. The train was operated by P&L Railroad.

WFPL will bring you more as information becomes available.

Joseph Lord

Joseph Lord is the online managing editor for WFPL.

@joseph_Lord

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