Shelter in Place Order issued for Paulsboro

PAULSBORO, N.J. - December 3, 2012

Because of the rising unsafe levels of Vinyl Chloride in the air, Paulsboro School District announced Monday that all public schools will be closed until further notice.

In addition, the fire chief has established a Shelter in Place order for entire city of Paulsboro, which mandates all residents stay indoors until further notice.


U.S. Coast Guard Captain Kathy Moore explained at a press conference Monday morning that due to heightened levels of Vinyl Chloride in the air, the decision was made to pull responders, work crews and local officials from the scene of the train wreck. She went on to say that air monitoring teams have been distributed throughout Paulsboro. The cause of the heightened chemical levels is unclear at this time.

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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