Residents in St. James Parish in Louisiana were evacuated after a train hauling hydrochloric acid derailed in the community of Paulina on Wednesday (November 2).
Of the six cars that derailed, one containing about 20,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid sprung a leak, causing the corrosive chemical to spill onto the tracks.
“Hazardous Materials crews, railroad personnel, parish officials, and others are assessing the extent of a leak on one railcar,” the Louisiana State Police said in a statement. “Crews will continue to monitor the leak with perimeter air monitoring.”
Officers went door-to-door, telling residents in about 200 homes within a quarter-mile of the train tracks to leave their homes due to the chemical spill.
The St. James Parish Sheriff’s Office said that a shelter had been set up at the Lutcher Senior Center. Residents were also offered rooms at local hotels for the night. As the clean-up efforts continued into Thursday, officials said their stays had been extended for an extra night.
On Thursday afternoon, officials announced that there is “no more health risk” from the spill but said they are still conducting tests near the homes to ensure the acid has been neutralized and that it was safe for people to return.