- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 19, 2015

ADDIS, La. (AP) - Emergency officials have ordered an overnight evacuation for people in two subdivisions near where four chemical tanker cars derailed Tuesday in the West Baton Rouge Parish town of Addis. No injuries were reported.

The parish president’s office said the evacuation began at 7 p.m. for people living in the Acadian Crossing and Sunset Place subdivisions while crews worked to right the toppled cars. Those residents are within 1,000 feet of the track where the accident happened.

The number of evacuees was not immediately known. Lynn Cline, a spokeswoman for West Baton Rouge Parish, said 175 to 200 houses are affected by the evacuation order. Cline said the VFW Hall in Addis is open for those affected and will remain open until the temporary order is lifted.

WBRZ-TV reports (https://bit.ly/1FyDohE ) residents outside the area must shelter in place until the evacuation is lifted - possibly by 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Four tanker cars derailed about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. Two are flammable chemical transports and two are caustic chemical transports, but a Department of Environmental Quality spokesman said none was leaking and described the evacuation as a precautionary measure.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1HfOlPY ) Parish President Riley Berthelot declared a local disaster emergency and issued the mandatory evacuation order as crews worked to right the tanker cars and clean up the crash site.

Addis police were going door to door to inform residents and assist with evacuations.

Police Chief Ricky Anderson said the train cars were transporting sodium hydroxide, propylene oxide, propylene dichloride and nitrogen blanket purge, which is a nitrogen method used to maintain a protective layer of gas on top of chemicals.

Sodium hydroxide is an inorganic compound used mostly as a chemical base in the manufacture of household cleaners as well as pulp and paper. Propylene oxide is an organic compound used in the production of polyurethane plastics. Propylene dichloride is an odorless and flammable organic compound used in the production of perchloroethylene and other chlorinated chemicals

The rail cars belonged to various companies but were being pulled by Union Pacific when the accident occurred, Anderson said.

The Addis Police Department investigated the crash with assistance from the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Anderson said emergency railroad services were on the scene around 3 p.m. Authorities believe the derailment was caused by damaged tracks and not operator error, he said.

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