Rubbertown Residents Sound Off About Plant Explosion

by admin on March 28, 2011

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer met with over 200 residents of the Rubbertown neighborhood Monday to hear their concerns about an explosion at a chemical plant in the area.

The meeting comes a week after a fire at the Carbide Industries plant killed two workers and closed streets in the area for hours.

Activist Charles Pope praised the mayor for holding the meeting but says there are still unanswered questions and concerns among residents about the cause of the blast.

“When you live down here in this area and you already know that there’s a soup of toxic chemicals in the air right now, then you know there was a fire down there. We don’t know the extent of what this fire really has done. We don’t know what it has emitted into the air. We don’t know what from the chemicals that were burning with what’s already in the air, we don’t know what the effect of that’s going to be,” he says.

Federal officials from the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board arrived last week to investigate, along with Kentucky OSHA officials and local fire investigators, who are working to develop possible theories about the explosions cause.

Fischer said that remedies are forthcoming, but many in attendance told him they believe the city’s inadequate warning system to last week’s deadly chemical plant explosion is a wake-up call.

Resident De’Nita Wright says that their patience is running out.

“Time will tell, and time better not be too long that’s all I say. When a chemical plant exploded, okay you know what’s going on but I don’t. Think of the mental processes that are going off. The hurt, the confusion. I have a family I have to protect. I can’t protect them if I don’t know how,” she says.

Other residents told the mayor that the neighborhood has been neglected by city officials and plant operators for decades, arguing that the neighborhood has always been left uninformed during a chemical leak.

Fischer has already announced plans to purchase a system that will give residents faster updates about industrial accidents. The city has also taken over the Rubbertown phone hotline that notifies residents about chemical leaks.

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{ 2 comments }

Ron March 29, 2011 at 7:52 am

Why do the taxpayers have to pick up the tab for a company’s failures? If this was a construction company with a job-site death or injury, there would be $ 10,000 per day fines until the damn company fixes the problem. You telling me a chemical company doesn’t face the same, possible willful, fines and punishment as a simple roofing company? Geez, hell, let’s just make the damn product for Carbide also. Yeah, that will fix everything.

Ma. Martha Sanchez March 29, 2011 at 2:57 pm

I lived in a small town in Texas where a train derailed with poisonous chemicals landing on a surface where oil pipes ran. At the time of the incident some of us were uninformed about the many hazardous chemicals that were transported daily through our town. The community which was located 32 miles from the nearest city, got together and mobilized everyone with out the use of a warning system. Our volunteer fire department, school and towns people, pulled together and assisted the city’s fire department. Subsequently, our community gained access to many more resources that we previously lacked such as training to become CERT certified and emergency management. Needless to say the story brought our community and people to establish more involvement with the rail road company whom were part of the mishap.

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