Train derails

Published 8:06 pm Wednesday, May 30, 2007

By By Lisa Tindell – news writer
What began as a quite morning in Castleberry turned into an afternoon of evacuations and hazardous materials crews converging on the town about 15 miles north of Brewton.
After a train derailment occurred just after 11 a.m. near downtown Castleberry, phenol leaked from at least one of the cars onto the ground, according to Heather Walton, Conecuh County Emergency Management Agency director.
An estimated 10 cars on the train were involved in the derailment, Walton said. Three of those cars were tankers carrying phenol and acetone, she said.
Walton and other officials proceeded to alert those residents and businesses in the immediate area concerning the situation.
CSX officials had requested hazardous materials teams from Pensacola, Fla., to aid in containing and cleaning up the chemical spill.
According to information from the Associated Press, phenol in the air can cause respiratory irritations.
The derailment left cars overturned about a half mile from the engine, Walton said.
Workers with CSX, owners of the train, and hazmat teams worked into the afternoon to clean up the spill and eliminate any risks to area residents and business owners.
Industries on U.S. 31 North were also to be evacuated.
The Appleton Volunteer Fire Department was called to assist by rerouting traffic along U.S. 31. Traffic was diverted onto Mason Mill Pond Road for travel north. U.S. 31 was closed to all through traffic from Conecuh County Road 6 south to Mason Mill Pond Road.
Meg Sacks, a spokeswoman with CSX, told The Associated Press the train was traveling from Mobile to Montgomery with a total of 66 cars, with 34 cars empty.
The remaining cars were carrying a variety of products including automobiles, plastic, steel, acetone and phenol.
According to reports, a six-man team of toxicologists was enroute to the scene from the Centers for Toxicology and Environmental Health agency based in Little Rock, Ark. The team arrived to assess chemical hazards relating to the derailment and to assess the damage to the environment.
Officials on the scene made no official cause for derailment available.

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