City Officials to Investigate Rubbertown Explosion, Response

by admin on March 22, 2011

In the aftermath of a chemical plant explosion in the Rubbertown neighborhood that killed two workers, Louisville Metro Government officials are launching a full investigating into the incident and breakdown in communication.

On Monday, firefighters were called to Carbide Industries in west Louisville to combat a blaze that was treated as a low-level chemical emission. The explosion was declared a Level 2 Hazardous Materials incident, according to Louisville MetroSafe officials.

During the incident there were conflicting reports that may have confused residents when some media outlets reported an evacuation was ordered by Metro Police. The only emergency order issued was an advisory for people within a one-mile radius to stay indoors as crews handled the fire and investigated the possibility of a leak.

Councilman James Peden praised MetroSafe for its response to the accident, but is troubled that residents didn’t receive immediate or accurate updates.

“Even if everything else did work properly there were a group of citizens that felt uninformed and that is probably an issue … Maybe we as a city need to look at that a little differently and say whenever there’s an incident at one of these factories at the very least people are going to assume the worst, therefore we have to calm those fears,” he says.

During the incident a hotline established by the city to warn residents about chemical accidents was not updated with any information. The phone system is maintained by Rubbertown plants, but city officials say they plan to upgrade and oversee the service.

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