MONTGOMERY, W. Va. —The Unified Command for the West Virginia Train Derailment announced Friday that residents evacuated from Adena Village and Mount Carbon are now allowed to return home, with the exception of those residents living in five homes immediately adjacent to the site.
The Unified Command, the West Virginia Department of Transportation and its Division of Highways have worked together to reopen one lane of Highway 61 after a review of the road’s safety and accessibility. Crews and police escorts are stationed along Highway 61 to facilitate traffic through the area and the safe return of residents to their homes. Residents and other drivers are asked to use caution when driving along Highway 61 as equipment and crew members continue to work and stage clean-up efforts nearby. For questions about road conditions or closures, please contact the West Virginia Division of Highways at 304-779-2860.
The decision to lift the evacuation order was made by the Unified Command based on the results of on-going air monitoring and the safety of the site. Transportation will be provided from hotels where evacuees are staying. The evacuation order for residents in Boomer Bottom was lifted Thursday.
“After careful evaluation, we have determined it is safe to reopen one lane of Highway 61 and allow residents to return to their homes,” said Dennis Matlock, Federal On-Scene Coordinator. “Safety of the residents remains our top priority. We encourage residents and drivers to continue to exercise caution when travelling through the area.”
Representatives from CSX are meeting directly with the remaining five evacuated homeowners to develop specific plans to accommodate their needs. These households remain under the evacuation order due to significant activity related to ongoing operations. Residents may be temporarily allowed to return to their homes for short periods of time with safety representatives to gather necessary personal belongings (e.g. medicine). The Unified Command will continue to assess these properties to determine when it is safe for these residents to return.
On Thursday, the Unified Command announced that CSX was temporarily relocating its Outreach Center to Valley High School in Smithers, W. Va. this weekend, to accommodate increased volume as residents return to their homes. Valley High School is located on Greyhound Lane in Smithers, W.Va. The Outreach Center is open 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Friday and 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., on Saturday and Sunday. The Outreach Center at the Glen Ferris Inn will be closed Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but will re-open on Monday to address any remaining unresolved issues.
Residents are reminded to bring identification (driver’s license or government ID) and AEP power bill to the Outreach Center. Residents are encouraged to bring any receipts documenting evacuation-related expenses. Households that experienced extended power outage must have the person whose name is on the bill present in order to receive compensation. If possible, only one household representative should come to check in at the Outreach Center.
Residents with questions about returning to their homes who cannot reach the Outreach Center or have related concerns may contact 1-877-TellCSX (1-877-835-5279).