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A derailed train near Lawtell, La., resulted in lubricant oil leaking from one railcar along with the evacuation of nearby residents. The Union Pacific train was traveling between Lawtell and Opelousas, La., on Aug. 4, 2013, when 23 of the 76 railcars derailed, causing Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to declare a state of emergency.
Fourteen of the 23 derailed cars contained regulated products, with one car leaking lubricant oil and a second car leaking a substance known as caustic soda. A third car was carrying a hazardous substance called Dodecanol, while two other cars contained vinyl chloride monomer, with one suffering serious damage to its outer jacket. Workers on the ground used dams and dikes to contain the leaking substances and prevent further offsite impact.
"Our first responders have done a great job, working several hours in a row to ensure this derailment is handled as safely as possible," said Gov. Jindal. "Obviously, everybody's first priority is the preservation of life and then secondly, property. The good news is that right now, there are no fatalities and no injuries."
U.S. Highway 190 was closed in the area, and state police evacuated a 1-mile area around the derailment, including approximately 101 homes. The American Red Cross was on the scene to help evacuees. Union Pacific also sent claims representatives to assist evacuees and has set up a hotline for more information: 877-877-2567.