MONTGOMERY, W. Va. — Response teams with the West Virginia Train Derailment continue their progress assisting the community, restoring the environment and repairing the rail transportation system on Saturday.
Residents are alerted that W. Va. Route 61 will be fully closed from 9 p.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday for equipment repositioning. Response teams are working with first responders to ensure emergency vehicle access during the road closure, if necessary. One lane will reopen to traffic following the designated closure. The Unified Command is working with the West Virginia Department of Transportation to regularly plow the road, and police escorts are stationed along the road to ensure drivers follow safety and security procedures.
“Safety continues to be the Unified Command’s top priority as response teams continue restoration, recovery and clean-up operations,” said Dennis Matlock, response Federal On Scene Coordinator. “We advise response teams, drivers and residents to exercise caution given the winter weather conditions.”
On Saturday, response teams continued pumping product from the derailed cars. Teams are also working with regulatory and environmental agencies to begin preparations for removing remaining rail cars to a CSX rail yard nearby.
Officials from the Federal Railroad Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration have teams of inspectors on site and are now positioning to begin a full-scale investigation into the cause of the derailment.
Environmental response teams continue to restore the incident site and recover product, with a multi-part containment strategy in place to help minimize impacts on the environment. In addition to containment trenches on the embankment and boom in the creek, vacuum operations continue to capture any existing product on the ice and shoreline. Locking steel sheet panels are being installed through the ice to physically contain any oil as temperatures rise and ice melts.
Environmental experts continue air monitoring efforts to ensure levels are safe for the public. Air and water quality reports are available online through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website at: http://www.epaosc.org/site/site_profile.aspx?site_id=9762.
The CSX Outreach Center remains open at Valley High School in Smithers this weekend, to accommodate the needs of residents who have returned to their homes. Valley High School is located on Greyhound Lane in Smithers. The Outreach Center is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. On Monday, the Outreach Center will relocate back to the Glen Ferris Inn, and remain open to address resident needs.
Residents visiting the center are reminded to bring a form of identification (driver’s license or government ID) and AEP power bill. Residents are encouraged to bring any receipts documenting evacuation-related expenses. Households that experienced extended power outages 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 who are not able to visit the Outreach Center can request compensation by mailing a letter that includes name, home address (P. O. Boxes not accepted), phone number, social security number and a photocopy of your driver’s license to the following address:
Attention: Mount Carbon accident response team
935 7th Avenue
Huntington, WV 25701
CSX will respond with an information package including further instructions, how to provide additional wage information and paperwork for itemizing damages. Compensation via mail usually takes approximately 4-6 weeks.
Residents with questions who cannot reach the Outreach Center may contact 1-877-TellCSX (1-877-835-5279).