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La Grande Observer 12/22/14

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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Local residents, travelers receive early morning wake-up call to evacuate the area as hazmat crews i


Local residents, travelers receive early morning wake-up call to evacuate the area as hazmat crews i

Individuals from nearby homes, Hot Lake Springs bed and breakfast and Eagles Hot Lake RV Park received an early morning wake-up call to evacuate the area following Wednesday’s derailment of a Union Pacific Railroad train.

Among those who received the early morning wake-up were Trina and Jim Benedict of Lincoln, Neb. The Benedicts were evacuated from Eagles Hot Lake RV Park.

The Benedicts were awakened a little after 3 a.m. by a woman with the RV park knocking on one of their windows. The Benedicts, who are traveling with two dogs and a cat, were calmly told of the derailment and that they needed to leave. 

The Benedicts, who were spending their first night at the RV park, quickly pulled in their awning, unplugged their hookups at the park and drove to the Flying J Travel Plaza.

Trina Benedict estimated the park to be half full at the time of the evacuation and, she said, the evacuation proceeded smoothly.

“There was no panic at all,” she said.

Benedict was not startled when she heard someone knock on her window around 3 a.m. 

“I’m a light sleeper and our dogs had been barking,” she said. “I thought something was going on.”

The Benedicts are traveling in a 37-foot RV, one they are not used to packing up in the dark and in emergency

“We’ve never done this in a hurry before,” she said.

The Benedicts were told at 7:30 a.m. this morning that they could return to the RV park. They had planned to stay another night but instead said they would begin their eastward trip home.

About 20 people staying at the bed and breakfast had to be evacuated. OSP Trooper Travis Moody woke people up at Hot Lake and told them they needed to leave. Most of the people he awakened were responsive but some did not seem overly alarmed.

“Some wanted to go back to bed,” Moody said. 

Moody remained until everyone had left.

The evacuation went smoothly, said Lee Manuel, who owns Hot Lake Springs with her husband, David.

Lee Manuel said the law enforcement officials were very nice, polite and professional. 

“Still, it was unsettling,” Manuel said.

She said there was anxiety because the full extent of what was happening was not known. 

“The unknown is scary in the daytime,” Manuel said. “It is really scary at night.”

Contact Dick Mason at 541-786-5386 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Follow Dick on Twitter @lgoMason. 


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