Repositioning of hydrogen fluoride cars delayed, no 'shelter in place' for Saturday


by WHAS11

Posted on November 2, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 4 at 2:57 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) --  According to EMA/Metrosafe, the "shelter in place" recommendation has been delayed as workers clear debris from the train derailment site.

Four cars were scheduled to be repositioned on Saturday afternoon, but work was delayed after crews discovered a lot of debris in the area.  In order to ensure the safety of first responders, work crews will spend Saturday clearing the debris before resuming work on Sunday.

The mandatory evacuation of residents within a 1.2-mile radius of the derailment site remains in effect.

For more information on alternate routes and for updates, go to

Earlier on Friday, WHAS11 got an up-close look at the derailed train that has forced hundreds of people from their homes.

Click here to see images of Monday's derailment.

"Right now, the scene is as safe and stable as it can be," said Jefferson County Hazmat Chief Dego Smith.

A pool photographer was allowed close to the chemical filled tankers for the first time since a P&L Railroad train derailed and a tanker car filled with Butadiene caught fire.

Emergency officials continued to wait for a fire to go out in the burning tanker this afternoon before beginning the process of removing two cars filled with highly volatile and poisonous hydrogen fluoride.

Heavy equipment and cranes have been brought in to complete that task.

"We're gonna widen our area. Get the other cars away from that area so when we get ready to formulate our plans for those HF cars, we'll have a wide work area," said P & L Spokesperson Gerald Gupton.

A total of 11 derailed tanker cars carrying chemicals will have to be moved and emptied. "They estimate somewhere between two and four hours per car, so if that gives you any indication it could be a while," said Chief Smith.

P&L Railroad CEO Tony Reck pledges his company will do all it can to make things right for those affected.

"We're gonna be here till this thing's done cleaned up and made right, all the way through," said Reck. "And it may take some time because we're gonna do it cautiously and we're gonna do it safely."

Meanwhile, new stories are emerging about the hours immediately after the tanker caught fire Wednesday, forcing an evacuation.

Story: West Point evacuees temporarily return home

William Anglin said his family was staying with his aunt in Westpoint when the fire broke out. He said firefighters told him to leave, but he had no source of transportation at the time.

Anglin said his wife, his one-year-old daughter and he remained in the house for about eight hours before a family member finally picked them up.

"We called the fire department, we called city hall. I even went up to City Hall and talked to a police officer and he said 'well everything's gonna be fine,'" said Anglin.

"Chemicals was real bad, my little girl was inhaling it. I had to rush her to the hospital last night because it got to the point where she wouldn't stop using the bathroom," he said.

Anglin's daughter Rebecca, who will turn one later this month, was treated and later released for possible chemical exposure.

EPA officials say 24 hour a day monitoring has shown no air quality problems.

WHAS11 talked to Dr. Aruni Bhatnagar about the dangers of chemicals after the train derailment, click here to watch.

Also on Friday, Ohio River restrictions were released. At one time, 21 sets of barges were waiting to pass through that section of river.