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About 5000 people were evacuated from a town in eastern Tennessee after a train car carrying a flammable toxic substance derailed and burst into flames late on Wednesday evening US time.
The train, operated by the Florida-based rail line CSX, was carrying acrylonitrile, a chemical used in making plastics that can cause headaches, dizziness and nausea when inhaled. Ten law enforcement officers were taken to the hospital after breathing in the fumes, Marian O'Briant, a spokeswoman for the Blount County Sheriff's Office, told the Associated Press.
Officials in Maryville, Tennessee, a town about 30 kilometres south of Knoxville, worked through the early morning to contact people who live within a 2-km radius of the derailment and gather them at a nearby shopping mall and high school. The evacuation could last up to two days, according to a statement released through social media by the sheriff's office.
Smoke rises from the site of a train derailment near Maryville, Tennessee. Photo: Reuters
Twenty-seven cars in the train were carrying hazardous materials, but only a single car derailed, according to a statement from CSX. The fire was still burning on Thursday morning US time.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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