100 additional homes ordered to evacuate in Paulsboro

PAULSBORO, N.J. - December 4, 2012

"The shelter in place situation we currently have is going to transition into a targeted evacuation area that will encompass approximately 100 additional homes from the current evacuation zone," Moore said.

The evacuation zone will start at Monroe Street and go south to East Broad and Crown Point Road and from Spruce Street heading east to Mantua Creek.

"Outside of these homes the shelter in place order will be lifted," Moore said.

Moore said this is a precautionary order to ensure safety to the neighborhoods around the incident stemming from the elevated levels of vinyl chloride in the air.

Moore also announced the extension of the evacuation order from Saturday to Sunday.

"We are absolutely committed to working safely and swiftly to get people back in their homes as soon as it is safe to do so," Moore said.

Earlier, a community meeting scheduled for the residents of Paulsboro, New Jersey in the aftermath of the train wreck and chemical leak was postponed due to a shelter-in-place order that remains in effect. That meeting was supposed to take place on Tuesday night at Paulsboro High School.

"We want to make sure the residents of Paulsboro have an opportunity to speak one on one with the experts to get the information they need," said Coast Guard Capt. Kathy Moore, with the Unified Command, in a written statement. "But we want to do it at a time when we can be confident that there is a minimal likelihood that any of the people who need information will be subject to a shelter in place order this evening."

The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the shelter in place order is still in effect for residents of Paulsboro.

The order was issued around 6:00 p.m. Monday due to heightened levels of a hazardous chemical into the air, making this the longest shelter in place order since Friday's train wreck, which resulted in the release of vinyl chloride into the Mantua Creek.

It's not clear when the shelter in place order will be lifted.

Despite the order, some people could still be seen outdoors on Tuesday.

"The way the wind's been blowing, it's been blowing toward West Deptford," said James Harden. "I've been through worse in this town."

Kristin Medlin had her children with her this morning, picking up medicine from the drug store. She said the air seems to be safe for the time being, with no strange odors.

"Not today. Yesterday, yeah. My son was getting sick last night, he was vomiting. He was dizzy and nauseous," she said.

It may be a frustrating time for the people of Paulsboro, but officials say they need to play it safe until the danger of another vapor release is over.

As of now, they are still trying to figure out how to deal with the remaining vinyl chloride in the ruptured tanker before they can start untangling the mess and clearing it out.

As this incident continues to unfold, residents are encouraged to sign up for Gloucester County emergency alerts by visiting the county website. Also, any residents who have questions or who feel they have been affected by the derailment should call 1-800-230-7049 for assistance.

Officials have also set up two centers where people can go to make sure they are signed up for reverse 911 calls or to check on their status.

The locations are:

  • Paulsboro Fire House, 1502 Swedesboro Avenue, Paulsboro, NJ
  • East Greenwich Annex, 21 E. Cohawkin Rd. Clarksboro, NJ

    Several schools, preschools and daycare centers will be closed for the rest of this week as the cleanup of the derailed train cars continues:
    Tracy Day Care
    Head Start
    Guardian Angels
    Billingsport Early Childhood Center
    Paulsboro High School
    Loudenslager

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