CSX announced Thursday afternoon that residents could return home after a chemical fire from a train derailment forced many to evacuate outside of Livingston, Ky., ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
“The fire is completely out,” CSX spokesperson Bryan Tucker said in an email, the Associated Press reported. He added that officials reviewed the air monitoring data and decided it was “safe” to let the residents come home.
The CSX train derailed, spilled chemicals and caught fire around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday near the remote town that has a population of about 200 people. The railroad company offered hotel rooms and Thanksgiving meals for those who were displaced, according to AP.
The fire was likely due to the two cars that carried molten sulfur. Two other cars were carrying magnesium hydroxide, but CSX said in a statement they likely weren’t breached in the derailment. The other cars had non-hazardous materials.
Short-term exposure to sulfur dioxide can harm the respiratory system, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
While Tucker said the air quality measurements indicated it was safe for residents to return to the area, the results of the tests have not been released.
Gov. Andy Beshear (D), who declared a state of emergency after the derailment, thanked first responders for their work to extinguish the fire.
“Thank you to the first responders who worked hard to put out the fire at the train derailment site in Rockcastle County,” he wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
“While there is still work to be done, we are thankful for the good news that our families in Livingston are able to spend the rest of Thanksgiving at home,” he added.
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