Shelter in place order lifted in Paulsboro after train wreck

This photo shows the train derailment in Paulsboro, New Jersey. (Courtesy: Courier-Post)
November 30, 2012 9:16:08 AM PST
A bridge failure is blamed for a train wreck in Paulsboro, New Jersey on Friday morning that sent multiple tanker cars into the Mantua Creek near the Delaware River.

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The Conrail train cars fell from the bridge near N. Commerce St. around 7:00 a.m. Friday.

Officials say that bridge was just rebuilt two years ago after it buckled back in 2009.

After the crash, officials say one of the tanks failed and vented 180,000 pounds of the chemical vinyl chloride as a gas into the air. That chemical is believed to have completely escaped the tank, leaving it empty.

However, there is still cause for concern. The cars will have to be removed and there is a risk that chemicals could be released from another car during that process.

The train was pulling a total of 84 cars on its way to a facility in Logan Township. Six cars were involved in the crash and four were carrying vinyl chloride, but so far only one has leaked.

A total of 66 people are being treated at Underwood Memorial Hospital for respiratory problems. 11 people were taken there by ambulance, while another 55 came in on their own. All are beaing treated and released, hospital officials said.

Monitoring in the area shows the air is safe and the earlier "shelter-in-place" order for homes and schools in the area has been lifted.

Still, an NJ DOT spokesman had a message for the residents of Paulsboro during a news conference on Friday, saying "This is a time of caution and you should remain very, very attuned to announcements as they occur."

There were no mass evacuations, NJ DOT said. There was a limited evacuation in the immediate area of the crash, involving people who worked in the area and possibly some homes.

The roads into Paulsboro have been reopened and busy Route 44 has also reopened.

According to the EPA's website, short-term exposure to vinyl chloride can cause dizziness, drowsiness, and headaches.

Long-term vinyl chloride exposure has been shown to increase the risk of a rare form of liver cancer, the EPA says, and has classified vinyl chloride as a Group A human carcinogen.

Stay with Action News and 6abc.com as more information becomes available.


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