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West Point evacuation could end Monday

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By Kelly Cantrall

The evacuation order for West Point tentatively is slated to be lifted Monday morning, but the schedule could change, according to emergency management officials.

The town was evacuated Wednesday after a chemical fire erupted in a derailed train in Jefferson County. The train derailed Monday, and the fire was ignited from trace amounts of 1,3 butadiene in the air.

The fire has since been contained within the train, said Jody Johnson Duncan, a spokeswoman for Louisville EMA/MetroSafe.

Another concern was the fire’s proximity to two cars containing hydrogen fluoride. If the cars overheated and exploded, it would release the chemical into the air and would be dangerous. A small amount can be lethal.

Workers are now planning on dealing with those cars, Duncan said. They began an attempt to reposition the cars, but found a lot of debris underneath them. They were working to clear the debris Saturday, and planned to reposition them today.

When they’re moved, a shelter-in-place order will be established for a five-mile radius, which asks residents to stay indoors, she said. Duncan said that should just last a day.

Duncan said they will do a reverse 911 call to alert residents of the order and issue media alerts.

A shelter for West Point residents at the former Muldraugh Elementary School closed Friday evening, and those displaced have been put in hotels, said Doug Finlay, deputy director of Hardin County Emergency Management.

P&L Railroad have been making reimbursements to displaced residents for expenses and costs such as lost wages and lost business sales. They also will be reimbursing the city of Radcliff for costs incurred from dealing with heavy traffic through the area because of the situation, Mayor J.J. Duvall said.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.