11-28-13 4:18 PM EST | Email Article

WILLARD, Ohio, Nov. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Fire Chief Joe Reiderman today lifted the evacuation and allowed most residents to return to their homes following a derailment late Tuesday night. Most residents were given the all-clear at 3:00 p.m. after significant progress in clearing the CSX Transportation derailment, which spilled approximately 13,000 gallons of styrene monomer, a flammable product used in the production of plastics and rubber.

"On this Thanksgiving Day, when we remember our blessings, it gives me great pleasure to tell our neighbors that it's safe to return to their homes," Chief Reiderman said. "I want to thank our community for its support and patience in this difficult process."

Rusty Orben, director-public affairs for CSX, echoed Chief Reiderman's praise. "All of us at CSX thank this community and its first responders for their incredible patience and cooperation this week. CSX pledges to continue to remain on site, helping people re-enter their homes safely."

A small number of homes closest to the derailment and product spill will remain off limits as the cleanup continues, Chief Reiderman said. Those families will continue to be housed at area hotels and their lodging, meals and other needs taken care of by CSX as they have been since the derailment. CSX also offered residents air monitoring in their homes if they had any concerns. Monitoring in the area has consistently showed the air to be safe, despite a minor odor. However, precautions are being taken with the homes closest to the immediate derailment site.

At the Willard High School, which has also served as the Community Outreach Center, CSX provided a Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings from 1-4 p.m. City and CSX representatives were available there to help residents get back to their homes and to answer any questions.

Meanwhile, overnight operations resulted in the re-railing of the four derailed rail cars, which will open up the area for additional cleanup being done in coordination with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The rail cars derailed during switching operations, and a CSX investigation is under way to determine the cause.

Clean-up work will continue for the next several days, and the Community Outreach Center will remain open at least through the weekend.

INFORMATION FOR RESIDENTS

  1. All residents except those residing on Pleasant Street in the City of Willard; 119, 121 and 209 North Main Street; and 119 Church Street are permitted to return to their homes at 3:00 p.m.
  2. For those residents still under the evacuation order on Pleasant Street, North Main Street and Church Street please call 1-877-TELL-CSX to arrange for monitoring of your home and additional needs.
  3. A minor odor may still be present, but there is not a threat to health and safety of residents.
  4. Any resident who was evacuated and would like to have their home monitored for air quality would need to report to the Community Outreach Center at the Willard High School to make arrangements.
  5. Anyone who was evacuated who would prefer to stay another night in a hotel would need to stop by the Community Outreach Center to make arrangements or call 1-877-TELL-CSX for guidance.
  6. Any resident who has questions or concerns can stop by the Community Outreach Center to speak directly with a CSX representative.

SOURCE CSX Corporation

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Morningstar - 2013/11/28 - Willard Residents Allowed to Return Home
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