All Paulsboro public schools closed due to elevated chemical levels

Officials work the scene of derailed freight train tank cars in Paulsboro, N.J., Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
December 3, 2012 4:34:44 AM PST
Officials tested the air near the site of that train derailment in Paulsboro, New Jersey Monday morning, and the test showed elevated levels of a toxic chemical, right near the wreck.

Because of the elevated levels of Vinyl Chloride in the air, all Paulsboro public schools will be closed Monday.

Local resident Sean McFarland tells Action News, "They put us here. And they couldn't send somebody here to tell us before the news guys came around?"

These evacuees are angry, saying it was only through news reporters that they found out that they couldn't return home until at least next Saturday while crews work to remove the hazardous material Vinyl Chloride from a ruptured tanker.

More than 100 people live in the 12 block evacuation zone in Paulsboro from Friday's train derailment.

"We understand that it's not certain people's faults, but to give us the run around about stuff, it's like aggravating not telling us what's actually going on," explains Andrea McFarland.

Federal investigators say Conrail crews had reports of signal problems weeks before the train derailed on Friday, which resulted in the chemical leak. They were even studying the problem the day before the crash, but the Nation Transportation Safety Board can't examine the scene until the Vinyl Chloride is removed.

A NTSB official told reporters, "What we are looking at now is how that bridge functions, how that bridge locks, and when that bridge is locked, how it communicates its position through those signals."


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