Tags: tennessee | train | derailment | fire | evacuation

Tennessee Train Derailment: Fire From Crash Leads to Mass Evacuation

By    |   Thursday, 02 Jul 2015 10:00 AM

A Tennessee train derailment late Wednesday night caught fire after its cargo of toxic substances burst into flames and caused the evacuation of nearly 5,000 people within a two-mile radius.

Word of the fire reached the Blount County Fire Department in Maryville around 11:50 p.m. on Wednesday night, and as of 8:15 a.m. on Thursday, the fire was still burning, according to The Associated Press.

The CSX tank car that derailed from the train was on route from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Waycross, Georgia, and it was loaded with acrylonitrile, a highly hazardous and flammable material used in industrial processes and plastic manufacturing, according to a statement released by CSX. The material also poses an inhalation risk to bystanders and can cause headaches, dizziness, irritability, and a rapid heartbeat.

The Federal Railroad Administration said in its own statement that investigators and hazmat inspectors are currently on site and, once the area is effectively contained, it will launch a thorough investigation into the direct causes of the derailment.

Blount County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Marian O’Briant told ABC News that the “evacuation time could last anywhere from 24 to 48 hours, but we'll get word out as soon as we can.”

Brittany Parrott, one of the nearby residents who was evacuated from her home at 4:30 a.m. on Thursday, told the AP that although she didn’t initially know about the train derailment, she could sense its immediate effects upon exiting her home.

“You could smell it in the air," Parrott said. “I had a headache, I was feeling nauseated and lightheaded, all the symptoms.”

So far, no deaths or serious injuries have been reported for the first responders or the evacuated residents, according to ABC News, although 22 first responders have been treated for decontamination.

Due to the showers and thunderstorms forecast for Thursday morning and afternoon, the derailment clean-up efforts will be hampered, according to AccuWeather. Acrylonitrile also produces toxic and flammable gases when it reacts with water, which may also pose some difficulties.

Maryville is located 20 miles south of Knoxville and is home to roughly 30,000 people.

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A Tennessee train derailment late Wednesday night caught fire after its cargo of toxic substances burst into flames and caused the evacuation of nearly 5,000 people within a two-mile radius.
tennessee, train, derailment, fire, evacuation
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2015-00-02
Thursday, 02 Jul 2015 10:00 AM
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