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Alabama town evacuated after NS train crash

(The following appeared on the Montgomery Advertiser website on May 11, 2010.)

PARRISH, Ala. ó Norfolk Southern crews are righting overturned cars and replacing a stretch of track after a train derailment set off fires and forced temporary evacuations in south Walker County.

There were no reports of in juries from the accident.

The derailment in the city of Parrish on Sunday afternoon led officials to call for the evacuation of residents within a half-mile radius of the derailment while any possible danger was evaluated.

Police said concerns were raised because sparks from the derailed cars caused several small fires along the track and officials learned some of the cars, which reportedly were tankers, were hauling flammable chemicals.

Parrish patrol officer Justin Hogan was in the area on another assignment when the accident occurred and immediately began going door-to-door warning residents to evacuate.

"I was just getting ready to knock on some doors in the com munity in regards to our Walk, Knock and Talk program, but this wasn't what I had in mind," Hogan told The Daily Mountain Eagle. "I hate to have to tell folks they need to leave their homes, but we're just doing what we were asked to do by the state troopers and the folks from the railroad."

Parrish police chief Nick Smith said railroad officials told him it would take several days to upright the overturned cars and remove them from the area.

"But it's going to take them several weeks to repair the dam age to the track," Smith said. "We are just thankful no one was injured and things didn't turn out any worse than it did."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

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