NJ town's evacuation expanded after derailment

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 4, 2012 at 4:49 pm •  Published: December 4, 2012

CLARKSBORO, N.J. (AP) — More New Jersey residents were ordered Tuesday to leave their homes because of air contamination from a train derailment last week that leaked a hazardous gas.

The evacuation order imposed by officials at 4 p.m. added 100 more homes to the area of Paulsboro where people were not being allowed to stay, increasing the number of evacuated residences to more than 200.

The evacuation is expected to last until Sunday, a day longer than previously expected. Also, schools in Paulsboro are to remain closed until next week.

But Coast Guard Capt. Kathy Moore, a spokeswoman for the group of federal, state and local agencies managing the disaster response, said at a news conference in neighboring Clarksboro that the expanded evacuation means that others in Paulsboro will no longer have to stay inside.

The southeast New Jersey industrial town near Philadelphia has about 6,000 residents.

Friday, seven train cars derailed at an old railroad bridge over Mantua Creek; one tanker car ruptured, releasing thousands of gallons of vinyl chloride into the atmosphere. Though no serious injuries or illnesses have been attributed to the leak, dozens of people who live or work nearby were checked out at a hospital emergency room.

Exposure to vinyl chloride for short periods can cause dizziness, breathing problems and other symptoms. Long-term exposure to high levels has been linked to cancer.

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