5,000 Evacuated in Tennessee After Train Derailment Releases Toxic Fumes

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Tennessee Highway Patrol and Maryville Police block a section of Highway 321 after a train derailment near Maryville, Tennessee July 2, 2015. Wade Payne/Reuters

Over 5,000 people were evacuated outside Knoxville, Tennessee, on Thursday morning after a freight train derailed carrying Acrylonitrile. At least one car on the train was carrying the “highly flammable and toxic gas,” the Blount County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. Three train cars were on fire as a result of the derailment, sending the gas spewing into the air. 

The train was traveling from Cincinnati to Waycross, Georgia. It was carrying 45 cars with a variety of materials on board. 

The evacuation order went into effect for a one mile radius surrounding the derailment. Those affected were offered shelter in a nearby high school by the Red Cross. The evacuation is expected to last between 24 and 48 hours.

Seven police officers were hospitalized for inhaling the fumes.