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City of Helena lifts voluntary evacuation notice for areas near train derailment

Posted at 11:17 AM, Oct 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-17 00:00:29-04

UPDATE 7:15 P.M.: The City of Helena has lifted the volunteer evacuation and street closures, as the rail cars have been safely stabilized.

UPDATE 6:00 P.M.: The City of Helena says the voluntary evacuation and shelter in place order from earlier Wednesday remains in effect until further notice.

The recovery operation for the derailed rail cars in the MRL yard is taking longer than initially expected.

The road closures listed in the initial notice remain in effect as well.

The City will release updated information as it's available.

Residents can also contact the incident information line at 406-447-1605 for incident updates

UPDATE 2:00 P.M.: The City of Helena is delivering a voluntary evacuation notice to residences near the site of train derailment.

The notice is effective between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, while crews work to remove the derailed cars.

Helena Police say there is no immediate threat to public safety, but residents who choose not to leave the area should shelter in their homes.

The notice is effective for residents in the following areas:

· Phoenix Avenue, between Montana Avenue and Oakes Street;
· Bozeman Avenue, between Montana Avenue and Roberts Street;
· Railroad Avenue, between Roberts Street and Oakes Street;
· Roberts Street between Phoenix Street and Railroad Avenue.

During the operation the above streets will be closed to all vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

Members of the public can get updates through the city's public information line at: 406-447-1605

HELENA: Four rail cars-- two containing liquid propane-- have derailed by the Montana Rail Link Trainmaster and North Roberts Street train crossing.

Montana Rail Link (MRL) say there is no threat to the public at this time.

The four cars were derailed at approximately 4:25 a.m. Wednesday October 16 by an MRL crew switching cars in the Helena yard.

“The incident is still under investigation,” said MRL Chief Communications Officer Ross Lane. “There were no injuries as a result of the derailment.”

The propane tanks are fully intact with none of the material was released from the rail cars.

There are MRL hazardous material responders on scene currently monitoring the situation and working closely with Helena Police and Helena Fire.

The North Roberts train crossing will be closed this afternoon while crews work to remove the damaged cars. Helena Police and Fire Departments are assisting MRL with the incident. People are asked to avoid Roberts Street between Bozeman and Phoenix Aves. Beattie Park of Railroad will also be closed to pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

MRL say operations at the rail yard are continuing as normal.