Train derailment forces hundreds to evacuate

The Bladen County Sheriff's Office has set up a command post to keep people away from the derailment (Angelica Alvarez)
February 2, 2013 8:19:07 PM PST
A cargo train derailed in Bladenboro Saturday, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate.

Emergency personnel say the derailment happened around 3:30 p.m. in the town south of Fayetteville.

Officials said 10 of the 105 cars overturned and one was full of ammonia. Captain Rodney Hester with the Bladen County Sheriff's Office told ABC11 that the car carrying ammonia was not leaking.

"Hazmat has deemed there is no leak at this time however CSX wants to go ahead, due to the way the tanker is positioned they want to off load the ammonia which is going to be a time consuming process," Hester said.

The train belongs to CSX. The transportation company is handling the draining of ammonia so that people can get back into their homes.

Hazmat crews said the tanker with ammonia was secure and they will put off draining it until early next week.

Because moving the cars may be time consuming and hazardous, up to 400 nearby residents were forced to evacuate. All residents from Seaboard Street to Village Street were included in the evacuation.

The evacuation order was lifted just before 10:30 p.m. and all residents are able to return home.

Those that did not stay with nearby family spent Saturday evening at an emergency shelter at Bladenboro Middle School. Officials said there were more than 30 people at the school Saturday night.

"We don't have a car we called the cops and told them and they sent an ambulance out there they picked us up and brought us here," said evacuee Rafael Masso

Another evacuee told ABC11 her husband heard a loud sound about the same time the train derailed. About an hour later, a police officer was at their door.

"He came and knocked on the door and then he had a bullhorn outside saying we had to evacuate," said evacuee Filicia Lilley McKee.

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