Freight train derails in Kentucky, spilling molten sulphur and forcing evacuations

Stefan Baumgarten


HOUSTON (ICIS)–A CSX freight rail train derailed on Thursday morning near Livingston, south of Lexington, Kentucky, involving 16 railcars, including two molten sulphur railcars that breached and caused a fire, officials said.

When molten sulphur burns it is known to release sulphur dioxide.

The Kentucky government declared an emergency and authorities were encouraging people in Livingston to evacuate.

The incident occurred at around 02:23 hours local time and by early Thursday morning about 50% of the fire had been contained.

However, residents of the area who had evacuated were not being allowed to return home yet, local media reported.

CSX is deploying specialised equipment to conduct air monitoring in the area and is working with emergency teams as they continue to assess the situation, the rail carrier said.

CSX has secured lodging at Mt Vernon, Kentucky, for residents in proximity to the incident who are concerned about their safety, it said.

In addition, the company is working with local restaurants to provide meals for affected residents. CSX is covering the cost for both lodging and food, it added.

Kentucky’s governor has activated the state’s price gouging laws to protect families from “grossly overpriced” goods and services during the emergency, the government said.

Front page picture: A train operated by CSX; archive image
Source: CSX

Additional reporting by Tracy Dang 


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