Open House On Paulsboro Train Derailment Postponed - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Open House On Paulsboro Train Derailment Postponed

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A shelter in place order due to chemicals in the air after last week's Paulsboro train derailment have forced an open house scheduled for Tuesday night to be postponed, authorities say.

Word came by way of a news release attributed to the Joint Information Center and issued on the U.S. Coast Guard's website Tuesday afternoon.

"A shelter in place ordered in Paulsboro Township Monday evening remains in effect, after air monitoring taken overnight continued to register elevated levels," the release states. "As a result, the community open house and town council meeting scheduled for this evening at Paulsboro High School has been postponed."

Coast Guard Capt. Kathy Moore, with the Unified Command, is quoted in the news release as giving the following explanation: "We want to make sure the residents of Paulsboro have an opportunity to speak one on one with the experts to get the information they need. But we want to do it at a time when we can be confident that there is a minimal likelihood that any of the people who need information will be subject to a shelter in place order this evening."

Authorities say they working closely with Borough of Paulsboro officials to keep the community affected by the derailment informed.

They're also urging residents to register to receive Gloucester County emergency alerts by visiting the county's website, and selecting the "Alerts" tab. There are two alert systems residents should register for; one for voice and one for text.

Those who have questions or who feel they have been affected by the derailment should call 1-800-230-7049 for assistance.

Residents have been urged since Sunday night to keep their windows closed after detecting unsafe air levels. An evacuation order is in effect for an area closer to the scene.

At two separate times Monday air-quality reports indicated higher levels of airborne chemicals.

Still, the U.S. Coast Guard assured FOX 29 that although the toxic chemical was in the air it was not threatening level. Authorities believe the warmer temperatures could be playing into the problem.

As for the quality of the water, the Coast Guard says that water samples are being sent to a lab.

The postponement of the open house is likely to further frustrate some residents in Paulsboro, particularly those in an evacuation zone near the derailment scene.

Some have expressed displeasure with the overall level of communication they're receiving.

FOX spoke with one woman who lives two blocks from the derailed train. She said she doesn't understand why she hasn't been evacuated and how authorities decided who should stay and who should go.

FOX 29's Stephanie Esposito spoke to state Assemblyman John Burzichelli on Tuesday morning about the latest developments.  He told Stephanie that a barge is due to arrive Tuesday from New York.  The process of removing the cars will begin, but before that can even happen, members of the NTSB have to go down to the scene of the accident.

He also told Stephanie that there are approximately 1,000 gallons of chemicals left in the compromised rail car. 

While crews work to clean up the mess, kids attending schools in Paulsboro will have the rest of the week off. School officials say they are following the recommendation of emergency response teams.

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