Red Cross waiting at Umatilla Fairgrounds for all-clear

Red Cross waiting at Umatilla Fairgrounds for all-clear
UMATILLA COUNTY, Ore. -- An evacuation order went out Monday in Plymouth, forcing nearly a thousand people out of their homes. Dozens piled into the Umatilla County Fairgrounds. It was base camp for up to 75 people at one point, waiting for answers and wanting to go home.

Just after 7 p.m. Monday, KEPR learned the evacuation radius had been reduced from two miles down to one. The entire town of Plymouth is now able to return to their homes, but some have decided the risk is still too great.

“We're barely a mile out, but I still feel it's not safe. People are going home at their own risk,” said Gabe Aldrich, who has decided to stay in Kennewick at a friend’s home for the night.

The Red Cross had dozens of cots ready to go with meals donated by local restaurants. Before 7 p.m. on Monday, they had already fed 75 people lunch and dinner. When the evacuation zone was reduced, everyone camped loaded up their belongings and either returned home or stayed with friends and family.

The Red Cross planned to remain on the scene through at least Tuesday in case anyone decides to stay the night at the fairgrounds. Another briefing is expected Tuesday.

Highway 14 has reopened, along with the river and airspace. The railway is still shut down near the plant. KEPR learned the explosion was so strong, debris from the explosion caused damage to the rail line itself. It is not known when it will be back in service.