Residents Allowed Back in Kentucky Town Following Extinguishment of Train Derailment Blaze

by Andrew Wright
Kentucky Train Derailment

The extinguishment of a chemical blaze resulting from a train derailment in Kentucky has led to the lifting of evacuation orders, enabling residents to return home, according to an announcement by rail company CSX on Thursday.

Bryan Tucker, a CSX representative, confirmed via email on Thursday afternoon that the fire had been fully extinguished. Following a thorough evaluation of air quality data by officials and CSX representatives, it was deemed safe for the evacuated individuals to return to their residences.

The derailment, which occurred near Livingston, a small community in Rockcastle County with roughly 200 inhabitants, happened at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The local populace was advised to evacuate for safety reasons.

Out of the 16 derailed train cars, two were transporting molten sulfur, which ignited following a breach in the cars, as reported by CSX.

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Although it is suspected that the blaze emitted sulfur dioxide, a potentially harmful gas, the exact measurements from air monitoring equipment deployed on Wednesday night have not been disclosed by the authorities.

For some residents of Livingston, Thanksgiving morning began in a temporary shelter at a middle school, a stark contrast to their usual holiday plans.

Cindy Bradley, who had just completed her Thanksgiving meal preparations, was promptly urged to evacuate her home due to the nearby train derailment. She found herself at Rockcastle County Middle School in Livingston, uncertain of the future developments.

A photograph from WTVQ depicts individuals organizing sleeping arrangements at Rockcastle Middle School, which served as an evacuation center in Mt Vernon, Ky., on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023. (Courtesy of WTVQ via AP)

Bradley, speaking to WTVQ-TV on Wednesday night, expressed her anxiety amidst the unfolding situation, surrounded by numerous makeshift beds.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that sulfur dioxide can lead to respiratory issues, with the severity depending on exposure duration and concentration. This gas is typically emitted from the burning of fossil fuels in power plants and other industrial activities.

Evelyn Gray recounted her experience of being alerted to evacuate, which was accompanied by a severe asthma attack triggered by the chemical exposure upon opening her back door.

According to Neil Donahue, a chemistry professor at Carnegie Mellon University, sulfur dioxide poses immediate risks, primarily causing irritation to the lungs and skin. Describing it as “caustic and acidic,” Donahue emphasized its discomforting and harmful nature.

However, Donahue also mentioned that the chemical threat should reduce significantly following the extinguishment of the fire.

CSX is currently engaged in the cleanup of another spilled chemical and in restoring the affected area.

Kentucky’s Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency in the county, ensuring that state resources are available to assist the response teams. He urged the public to remember the emergency workers and displaced residents during Thanksgiving, expressing gratitude to the first responders dedicating their day to public safety.

In a gesture of support, CSX has committed to covering the expenses of those who were required to evacuate, including costs for Thanksgiving meals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Kentucky Train Derailment

What caused the evacuation in the Kentucky town?

A chemical fire, resulting from a train derailment involving molten sulfur, led to the evacuation of residents near Livingston, Kentucky.

Has the chemical fire in Kentucky been extinguished?

Yes, the chemical fire from the train derailment has been fully extinguished, allowing residents to return to their homes.

What were the contents of the derailed train cars in Kentucky?

Two of the derailed train cars in Kentucky were carrying molten sulfur, which caught fire upon derailment.

Were there any health risks associated with the Kentucky train derailment?

The fire potentially released sulfur dioxide, a gas that can cause respiratory problems, but specific health risk measurements have not been disclosed.

What assistance did CSX provide to the evacuated residents in Kentucky?

CSX committed to covering the costs of evacuation for the affected residents, including providing for their Thanksgiving dinner.

More about Kentucky Train Derailment

  • Kentucky Train Derailment News
  • Livingston Evacuation Update
  • Chemical Fire Safety Concerns
  • Sulfur Dioxide Health Risks
  • CSX Response to Kentucky Incident
  • Governor Beshear’s Emergency Declaration

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KarenP November 24, 2023 - 7:09 am

just terrible for those poor people, having to spend thanksgiving in a shelter, CSX better do more than just cover dinner costs!

TrainEnthusiast November 24, 2023 - 7:32 am

derailments like these show how important rail safety is, we really need better oversight on this stuff

LocalResident November 24, 2023 - 5:00 pm

i live near there and the whole situation was just chaotic, never seen so many emergency vehicles in our small town before

JennyR November 24, 2023 - 11:58 pm

Heard about this on the news, sulfur dioxide sounds dangerous. Hope the people there are okay.

EnvironmentWatcher November 25, 2023 - 2:51 am

what about the long term environmental impact? sulfur dioxide is no joke, affects air quality and health..

MikeSullivan November 25, 2023 - 3:41 am

wow, this is really a scary situation, glad everyone is safe now, can’t imagine having to leave home on thanksgiving because of a train derailment


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