Unified Command continues response, extends evacuation order following train derailment

Mid Atlantic Coast Guard News
CLARKSBORO, N.J. — The evacuation order for an area of Paulsboro, N.J., put in place following the derailment of seven train cars near the East Jefferson Street Bridge has been extended until Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 based on the current estimates of the work remaining.

Unified command members made the decision to extend the evacuation period, which affects 48 homes, to ensure the continued safety of the public because there are still rail cars holding vinyl chloride and potential hazards remain.

The evacuation area boundaries remain:

Railroad Avenue (North)

E. Broad/Crown Point Road (South)

Mantua Creek (East)

North Delaware Street  (West)

Guardian Angels School and the Head Start Center of Paulsboro will remain closed through Friday. All Paulsboro public schools will be open. Active air monitoring will be conducted throughout the day to ensure air quality remains safe. Additionally, the Gateway Communications Center will be closed for the week.

Municipal Courts in Paulsboro will be cancelled Monday. Local law enforcement officials will make notifications to all those affected.

The city of Paulsboro and Gloucester County have several systems in place to reach out and inform the public about changes to the evacuation area. The public is asked to stay alert to the local media and the existing public alert systems for updates to the evacuation area and other important information.

To help ensure safety, multiple teams are conducting ongoing air and water monitoring to ensure the safety of the local community and responders. There is currently no evidence to indicate any impact to local drinking water.

Conrail continues to operate a public assistance center located at the Paulsboro Fire Department, 1502 Swedesboro Ave., Paulsboro, N.J. People going to the center are asked to bring Photo ID to make claims processing easier.

Residents in the evacuation area are requested to contact the community assistance line at 1-800-230-7049 for community information and assistance. Services being provided include lodging, clothing purchase, food, pharmacy, laundry, and pet care services.

Response crews plan to remove the remaining vinyl chloride from a breached tank car by inserting a hose into the tank and vacuuming the liquid material into empty rail cars so it can be removed. Salvage divers are also preparing to assess the damage to the cars, bridge and the bridge’s hydraulic tank.

After the vinyl chloride is removed from the breached tank, the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the site. At the conclusion of their site investigation, debris will be removed by crane barge. Finally, response crews will remove the remaining rail cars with a heavy lift crane.

The Unified Command includes:

–       Coast Guard

–       New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

–       New Jersey Office of Emergency Management

–       Paulsboro Fire Department

–       Conrail

Approximately 170 responders are working on the cleanup operations.

Members of the community who may have been affected by the derailment should call the community hotline at 1-800-230-7094 for more information and assistance.

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