• Toxic Train Takes Tumble In Tennessee

    More than 5,000 people were evacuated Thursday morning after a CSX train carrying a highly flammable and toxic gas derailed and caught fire near Knoxville, Tenn.

    The train was carrying acrylonitrile, a hazardous material used in a variety of industrial processes including making plastics that can cause headaches, dizziness, irritability and rapid heartbeat when inhaled, The Associated Press reports.

    The incident was first reported to the Blount County Fire Department just before midnight Wednesday, and Maryville City Manager Greg McClain said at a news conference the fire was still burning as of noon Thursday. (RELATED: Surprising No One, Democratic Senator Immediately Politicizes Amtrak Crash)

    Ten law enforcement officers had to be hospitalized after breathing in the toxic fumes, prompting officials to order the evacuation of all residents within a 2-mile radius of the crash. The Red Cross has established two shelters for the displaced individuals, including one at a local high school.

    The original evacuation area was limited to a one-mile radius, and was expected to take between 24 and 48 hours, according to a Facebook post from the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, but no estimate has so far been provided for the time it could take to evacuate the larger area. (RELATED: Passengers Sue Amtrak Over Train Derailment)

    Craig Camuso, CSX regional vice president for state government affairs, told The AP the train was traveling from Cincinnati to Waycross, Ga., with 45 cars filled with mixed freight and 12 empty cars. Only one car actually derailed, but was unfortunately one of nine that contained acrylonitrile.

    CSX plans to provide reimbursement to evacuees, he said, and is already distributing gift cards for food and other essentials to those in need.

    The U.S. Department of Transportation recently established new rules designed to improve the safety of trains carrying hazardous materials, according to The Wall Street Journal, but the rules only apply to trains with more than 70 cars, so would not have prevented the CSX derailment. (RELATED: Train Crash Fails to Derail Amtrak Cuts)

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