Train derailment, fire prompts evacuation in Tennessee

Published 9:39 am Thursday, July 2, 2015

MARYVILLE, Tenn. — At least one car of a CSX train carrying a flammable and toxic substance derailed and caught fire in eastern Tennessee, prompting the evacuation of thousands within a two-mile radius.

Blount County Fire Department Lt. Johnny Leatherwood said a call about the train derailment came in Wednesday night at 11:50 p.m. Firefighters and hazardous materials crew were on the scene and the fire was still burning at 6:05 a.m. today, he said.

About 5,000 people in the Maryville area were being evacuated along with several businesses, Leatherwood said.

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Six or seven police officers had to be decontaminated but no deaths have been reported, Leatherwood said. He could not say how many cars derailed or what substance they were carrying.

On its Facebook page, the Blount County Sheriff’s Office said early Thursday that the evacuations could last from 24 to 48 hours.

A shelter for residents has been set up at a local high school.