CROWLEY, La. -- The hassle of living out of a suitcase in a hotel room 20 miles from home has taken its toll on Marilyn Williams.
She was forced to leave her house with her two children over the weekend when a train carrying hazardous materials derailed at nearby Eunice. She's beginning to worry about the 10 dogs she left at home and worries she might have difficulties with her pregnancy.
''I don't want to lose my baby,'' said Williams, who is due in January.
Williams is one of the approximately 4,100 people from the southern Louisiana town who were forced to evacuate their homes when the Union Pacific freight train wrecked Saturday.
The number represents more than a third of the town's population of 11,000 residents. State police said they have no timetable for the evacuees' return.
No one was injured, but fireballs lit up the sky and the nearby woods caught on fire when 34 of the 113 freight cars derailed and then exploded west of Eunice. Officials believe all the cars were carrying hazardous materials.
As of early today, crews had moved seven of the derailed cars off the tracks, and two tankers, under pressure from flammable and toxic chemicals, were detonated Wednesday. Cleanup work is expected to go on around the clock.
Williams and her neighbor, Susan McCauley, left home immediately after the derailment and came to the Crowley Inn, where dozens of evacuees are staying. By Wednesday, hotel officials forced the women to find another hotel because their rooms had been booked a week ago by regular customers.
''On Saturday, we got evacuated and now we are getting evicted,'' McCauley said as she and Williams took off for a hotel in Lafayette.
''We have a total of 775 rooms rented for evacuees within a 50-mile radius of Eunice. The American Red Cross has taken 1,026 applications for assistance,'' railroad spokesman Mark Davis said. ''Our claims office has issued nearly 550 checks to evacuees for out-of-pocket expenses.''
At a Comfort Inn eight miles down the highway in Rayne, Patricia Fontenot relaxed at the hotel pool as her three children splashed in the water with other Eunice kids.
''It was chaos,'' said Fontenot. She is trying not to think about the damage to her house.
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