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Most residents cleared to return home after train derailment forced day-long evacuation
PAULINA - A train jumped the tracks Wednesday afternoon, causing a chemical leak that forced roughly 150 families to flee their homes.
The St. James Parish Sheriff's Office said homes in Paulina near Perry Road and Bourgeois Road were being evacuated and roads were being closed Wednesday morning.
As of Thursday afternoon, all but two of the 150 households forced to evacuate are now safe to return to. The only houses still under evacuation are between Elaine Road and the railroad itself, according to the sheriff's office.
Sheriff Willy Martin said a hazmat team responded to the accident.
Shortly before 8 p.m. Wednesday night, Sheriff Martin said deputies were expanding the evacuation zone. More than 75 additional homes in the area were evacuated.
The sheriff said residents who were evacuated will be able to stay at hotels until at least Friday. Evacuees can report to a checkpoint and a get a deputy to escort them home to retrieve necessities or pets.
A spokesperson for Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality said soda ash was brought in to neutralize the acid and air monitoring is being done by private and state contractors.
As of Thursday, no injuries have been reported, according to the sheriff.
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