Chemical leak causes evacuations

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 29, 2007

RACELAND, Ky. — A chemical spill at the CSX yard in Raceland Ky., late Monday forced some evacuations and shelter-in-place orders for parts of three communities on both sides of the Ohio River.

Classes at schools in Raceland, neighboring Russell, Ky., and the Ironton City and Catholic schools were canceled.

A dispatcher for Greenup County 911 said just before 11 p.m. Monday night, workers at the rail yard noticed a small white cloud near a rail car containing hydrochloric acid. Three employees at the rail yard were taken to Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital in Russell, Ky., treated and released, hospital spokesman Kevin Compton said.

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The Greenup County Emergency Management Agency ordered the evacuation of people on Vince Street and Vine Alley in Raceland, and then ordered those within a mile of the rail yard on either side of the river to shelter in place.

“Based on the location of the rail yard, a one-mile radius from there would be between Storms Creek and the Lawrence County line and from the river to U.S. 52,” Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Boster said. “We do stress this (was) only a precautionary measure.”

The shelter-in-place order was lifted just after 10 a.m., according the Greenup County 911.

Authorities in Kentucky closed a portion of U.S. 23 from Wheeler Hill in Flatwoods to State Route 503 as well as Greenup Avenue in Raceland from U.S. 23 to Caroline Road and Pond Run Road from U.S. 23 to the CSX car shops.

According to information from the Greenup County 911 agency, air monitoring is on-going.

Emergency personnel remained at the rail yard through the late morning hours today.