‘No more health risk’ from hydrochloric acid leak caused by train derailment, St. James officials say

Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 12:24 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 3, 2022 at 1:54 PM CDT
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PAULINA, La. (WVUE) - St. James officials say that those who had to be evacuated around the area where an acid spill happened could return home sometime today.

St. James announced that all but two of the evacuated residents are cleared to return to their homes. These two homes on Elaine Road were closest to the train derailment.

Officials say that some of the spill made it out onto the properties and more cleanup needs to be done in order for them to come back.

All roads are open for traffic, excluding the railroad crossing which will remain closed while it is being repaired.

The latest from St. James officials is that there is ‘no more health risk’ from the hydrochloric acid that leaked from a train car after its derailment yesterday.

Emergency officials are making sure the acid is neutralized and safe for the 150 or so people to come back to their homes.

Right now, crews are testing homes close to the spill site for any chemical residue in order to see whether they are safe for families to head home.

Officials are testing door knobs, cars, and other objects outside but they say if a window or door was left open on the property, the inside would have to be tested too

Officials hope that people farthest from the site would be able to return soon, as early as this afternoon, but they say there could be other issues that could cause a delay.

The 150 people who were evacuated will be allowed to stay in a hotel for another night.

Officials don’t anticipate they need to extend that any further.

But if anyone is in need of coming back to their homes to get medicine or their pets, the sheriff’s office has been escorting people to their property to do so.

As for what might have caused this derailment, officials say it’s too early to determine if it was an issue with the rail car or the rail system.

But they will be updating us throughout the day as we learn more details.

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