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100 homes evacuated in southern Louisiana after train derails

August 05, 2013|By Michael Muskal

About 100 homes remained evacuated on Monday as officials worked to clean up the area around the derailment of a train carrying chemicals near the town of Lawtell, La., about 60 miles from Baton Rouge.

The accident, which took place around 3:30 p.m. Sunday and derailed 27 cars of a Union Pacific train, is under investigation, railroad spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza said by phone Monday morning. The evacuation area is an about 1.5-mile radius from the accident site near U.S. Highway 190, she said.

The railroad ties on the line were renewed in 2011, Espinoza said. Railroad ties are built to last anywhere between eight to 14 years.

The section of track where the accident took place was inspected about three hours before the derailment and the track inspector did not find any issues, she said.

Officials were working to clear the highway, which had been blocked by the accident.

Crews worked through the night to halt three cars from leaking, Espinoza said. The cars that had been leaking contained lubrication oil, sodium hydroxide and dodecanol, an alcohol used in products including as a food additive.

One individual, who complained of eye irritation, went by car to a hospital for treatment, Espinoza said.

Gov. Bobby Jindal flew into St. Landry Parish in southern Louisiana on Sunday night to inspect the scene.

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michael.muskal@latimes.com

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