Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced a state of emergency on Wednesday following a train derailment in Livingston. The incident resulted in the release of chemicals that ignited, leading to the emergence of smoke clouds in the air.
Approximately 16 cars of a southbound CSX train were part of the derailment that occurred around 2:23 p.m., just north of the small town with 400 residents in Rockcastle County, according to CSX.
Two of the train cars, transporting molten sulfur, experienced leakage during the derailment and subsequently caught fire, as reported by the company. The combustion of molten sulfur frequently results in the release of sulfur dioxide, a potentially toxic substance.
Inhabitants of Livingston and Piney Branch were advised to evacuate, as the judge/executive of Rockcastle County declared a state of emergency for the entire county.
Authorities conducted a door-to-door campaign, encouraging residents to evacuate the vicinity.
Numerous families, in the midst of Thanksgiving preparations, received notice of the evacuations. They were directed to Rockcastle County Middle School, where the Red Cross personnel had converted the gym into an emergency shelter, equipped with numerous cots.
CSX stated that it is deploying specialized equipment to oversee the air quality in the vicinity and maintaining close communication with emergency officials in Rockcastle County.
Additionally, the company assured that it would bear the expenses for hotels and restaurants for residents impacted by the incident.
Meanwhile, Governor Beshear emphasized that the statewide emergency order empowers the state to mobilize resources such as Kentucky Emergency Management and the Kentucky National Guard, deploying them to the county as deemed necessary.
A CSX crew member received on-site treatment for minor injuries at the scene of the derailment.
In the previous winter, a train transporting hazardous chemicals derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, prompting the evacuation of hundreds of residents before authorities executed a controlled burn.