News > Press Releases
Aug 05, 2013
Lawtell — Governor Bobby Jindal traveled with Louisiana State Police Superintendent Colonel Mike Edmonson to St. Landry Parish tonight to assess a derailed train in Lawtell and receive a briefing from local officials. The train was traveling from Lake Charles to Livonia when 23 cars derailed.
Governor Jindal said, “Our first responders have done a great job, working several hours in a row to ensure this derailment is handled as safely as possible. Obviously, everybody’s first priority is the preservation of life and then secondly, property. The good news is that right now, there are no fatalities and no injuries. Again, I’d like to praise State Police, sheriff’s deputies, first responders, DEQ, DOTD several other state agencies and local officials working together and running toward danger instead of away from it.
“We will remain on the ground and provide resources until this site is safe. We will hold those responsible for the event accountable and ensure they make it right for the people in this area.”
Governor Jindal also provided an update on the train derailment. Fourteen of the 23 derailed cars contain regulated products. One car is leaking lubricant oil, and a second car is leaking a class 8 substance known as caustic soda. State Police and first responders are working on a plan to address a third car carrying a class 9 hazardous substance called Dodecanol. Workers on the ground are using dams and dikes to contain the leaking substances from these cars to prevent further offsite impact.
In addition, there are two cars containing vinyl chloride monomer, with one suffering serious damage to its outer jacket. Neither is leaking vinyl chloride, and Union Pacific contractors are damming off the area in order to further inspect these cars.
There has been no concern from air monitors, and the derailment is not expected to shut down any rail service because of detours in place. U.S. Highway 190 remains closed in the area, and State Police has evacuated a one-mile area around the derailment, including approximately 101 homes. The evacuation is expected to remain in order for days, not weeks, and the State Police and Red Cross will soon be assisting evacuees with supported entries so they can retrieve pets, medications and other important items.
The American Red Cross is on scene at the Delta Grand (120 S. Market St., Opelousas, LA 70570) to assist evacuees. So far, 35 families have registered with the Red Cross and four have requested shelter. Union Pacific claims representatives are also en route to assist evacuees and cover expenses. Union Pacific has set up a hotline for more information: 877-877-2567.