Paulsboro Evacuation Area Extended
The evacuation area in Paulsboro has been expanded to include an additional 100 homes as the shelter-in-place order is modified as the cleanup continues from Friday’s train derailment.
Kathy Moore of the US Coast Guard and the Unified Command says this is a “precautionary order to ensure safety of the neighborhoods around the incident stemming from the elevated levels of vinyl chloride in the air but it’s also designed to let the rest of the city of Paulsboro return to life as normal and not have the have the shelter-in-place on-again, off-again.”
Moore also announced at an afternoon press conference that residents already evacuated from the area will not be allowed to return home until Sunday.
Additional hotel rooms have been secured for evacuated residents and a portion of the Kingsway High School is also available as a shelter.
Moore says she is well aware of the inconvenience placed upon residents by the slow cleanup. “We are absolutely committed to working safely and swiftly to get people back in their homes as soon as it is safe to do so,” Moore said.
She says a chemical will be added to the tanker cars that will dissolve the vinyl chloride and that will allow a non-toxic liquid to be pumped from the tankers. The United Command’s focus has been to get the breached tanker contained and removed from the area
She says there are a number of factors playing into the Unified Command’s decisions including the fact that there are dangerous chemical involved and this is a complex cleanup operation involving diver and tangled rail cars.
“The fact is, we are moving safely, people are not getting hurt on scene, we are doing the right things, we are doing them in the right order, we are meeting our priorities, we are moving as swiftly as we can considered the very complicated problem we have,” Moore said.
Anyone in Paulsboro who needs help or has general questions, can call (800) 230-7049. Health related questions should be directed to: (856) 599-5154.