Residents in Boomer Bottom allowed to return home as West Virginia Train Derailment Unified Command continues work

Response crews for the West Virginia train derailment continue to monitor the burning of the derailed rail cars near Mount Carbon next to the Kanawha River, Feb. 18, 2015. The West Virginia Train Derailment Unified Command continues to work with federal, state and local agencies on the response efforts for the train derailment that occurred near Mount Carbon, Feb. 15, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Angie Vallier)

The West Virginia Train Derailment Unified Command continues to work with federal, state and local agencies on the response efforts for the train derailment that occurred near Mount Carbon, Feb. 15, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Angie Vallier)

MONTGOMERY, W.Va. – The Unified Command announced Thursday that residents evacuated from Boomer Bottom following the West Virginia Train Derailment near Mount Carbon, are now allowed to return home. The evacuation order is still in effect for residents of Adena Village and Mount Carbon.

The decision to lift the evacuation order was made by the Unified Command based on the results of on-going air monitoring and the safety of the site.

Highway 61 remains closed due to safety concerns. The Unified Command is working on options to reopen portions of Highway 61 for residents, and people who need access for employment reasons.

“The safety of the residents of Montgomery and our response personnel remain the top priority,” said Dennis Matlock, the Environmental Protection Agency Federal On-Scene Coordinator, who assumed duties from Coast Guard Capt. Lee Boone Thursday. “We also continue efforts to contain, treat and recover product from the derailment scene.”

Environmental protective and monitoring measures remain in place on land, air and in both Armstrong Creek and the Kanawha River. Air and water monitoring are on-going, and results continue to demonstrate no impact to the air quality or the Kanawha River. No rail cars entered the Kanawha River in this incident.

The Federal Railroad Administration has confirmed that during the incident, the train was traveling at 33 mph in a 50 mph zone. The train was carrying 3.1 million gallons of Bakkan crude oil. Approximately 6,810 gallons of oily-water mixture have been recovered from containment trenches dug along the river embankment near the derailment site.

On-scene teams safely re-railed all but one of the derailed cars that had not been involved in fire. The team also began pumping operations from some of the remaining derailed cars, and that process will continue around the clock. Teams will then prepare to remove those cars from the derailment site.

CSX continues to work with the Red Cross and other relief organizations to address residents’ needs, taking into account winter storm conditions.

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