CSX, the Hyndman cooperative incident management team and environmental experts have determined it is safe to reduce the evacuation zone to a limited area immediately surrounding the derailment site. The majority of evacuated residents can safely return home after 12 p.m. Saturday, August 5.
This decision was made after a highly sensitive air-quality sample was analyzed by an American Industrial Hygiene Association accredited lab and showed no impact to air quality. A reduced perimeter is being maintained for the sole purpose of protecting residents from the impact of site restoration activity. Site restoration work includes heavy truck traffic, movement of derailed cars and other noisy, disruptive activity 24 hours per day.
The reduced evacuation area is between the Schellsburg Street bridge and the Hogback Road railroad crossing; it includes Schellsburg Street and the surrounding streets – Paris Avenue, Mill Street, Harden Street and Cleveland Street. Approximately 30 homes are within the reduced area.
Those who live in the affected area are requested to come to one of the outreach centers to meet directly with CSX and develop specific plans to accommodate their needs. CSX understands the inconvenience this incident has caused and is committed to supporting these residents until they can safely return to their homes.
The CSX community outreach centers at the Hyndman Ministry Center and the Bedford United Methodist Church will close at noon today. Residents needing assistance should visit the new outreach center at the HOPE for Hyndman Charter School, 130 School Drive, which will open at noon today.
As part of the reduction of the evacuation area, Route 96 will also reopen at 12 p.m. Saturday, August 5.
To accommodate residents returning home, shuttle services will be available at the designated evacuation hotels. Those requiring special assistance should speak with the CSX representative onsite at the hotels or call the toll-free incident response line: 1-800-331-4031.
CSX has distributed information to residents about what they can expect when they return to their homes. Key points include:
• Residents should follow the same standard precautions that they would normally take after time away from their home. There are no special measures that must be taken to return home because of this event.
• It is highly unlikely that there will be any long-term health effects from this event.
• CSX will provide contact information for specialists who can answer additional questions.
This information is being shared through the CSX representatives at each of the designated evacuation hotels, as well as at the community outreach centers, online at response.csx.com and through traditional and social media channels.
CSX appreciates the support of the American Red Cross, local first responders, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the community in caring for the needs of residents displaced by this incident.