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Train Derailment Prompts Evacuation in Eastern Kentucky Due to Chemical Spill and Fire

by Anna

A train derailment in eastern Kentucky has resulted in a chemical spill, prompting officials to encourage residents of the small town of Livingston, with approximately 200 inhabitants, to evacuate due to concerns about air quality. The incident occurred on Wednesday, and Governor Andy Beshear issued a statement confirming the evacuation recommendation by local officials in Rockcastle County.

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The derailment involved at least 16 cars and happened around 2:30 p.m., according to Bryan Tucker, a spokesperson for the railroad operator CSX. Two of the derailed cars were carrying molten sulfur, which ignited after the breach. As of late Wednesday, CSX was still working to extinguish the fire, with molten sulfur believed to be releasing sulfur dioxide. The exact amount of sulfur dioxide released will be confirmed after measurements are taken from air monitoring equipment deployed on Wednesday night.

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Sulfur dioxide, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), can cause respiratory problems depending on the concentration and duration of exposure. The gas is commonly produced by burning fossil fuels in power plants and other industrial processes.

John Mura, a spokesman for the state Energy and Environment Cabinet, indicated that he did not have detailed information on the quantity of chemicals released during the incident. One crew member was reported to have received treatment at the scene for minor injuries, as reported by WKYT-TV.

In response to the situation, Governor Beshear declared a state of emergency in Rockcastle County, emphasizing the importance of utilizing every available state resource to ensure the safety of residents. He urged people to avoid the affected area to facilitate an efficient response from state and local officials.

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