Five contractors were hurt this afternoon, three of them seriously, when an explosion and fire occurred at the site of Monday morning's trail derailment in southwest Jefferson County. As a result, a mandatory evacuation within 1.2 miles of the derailment has been declared. And Louisville MetroSafe has asked all residents within a 5 mile radius of the derailment site to remain indoors as a precaution. They have been asked to close doors and windows and to turn off their residential heating and cooling systems. Also, residents are asked to bring their pets inside, according to an announcement from MetroSafe.
Three of those injured have second- and third-degree burns over 90 percent of their bodies, according to Doug Hamilton, director of the Louisville Emergency Management Agency.
Two other workers were also hurt but refused to be taken to local hospitals. The five are employed by R.J. Corman Railroad, a short-line rail operator and derailment clean-up specialist. The firm is headquartered in Nicholasville.
Air space above the site has been closed to airplanes and traffic on the nearby Ohio River has been closed too. Efforts are being made now to extinguish the fire. It's thought one rail car hauling chemicals on Monday morning is now on fire. Workers have trying to keep it from spreading.