Thousands evacuated over toxic fumes from derailed train car in Tennessee

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A derailed train car burst into flames early Thursday, releasing toxic fumes and forcing the evacuation of 5,000 people in Tennessee, authorities said.

Seven deputies were treated at a hospital after exposure to the fumes in Blount County, said Marian O’Briant, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office.

Josh West, a spokesman for Blount Memorial Hospital, said 12 emergency responders were decontaminated there, a standard procedure after exposure to toxic chemicals.

The car, which was part of a nearly 60-car train, was carrying acrylonitrile, a chemical compound used to manufacture plastics, said Kristin Seay, a spokeswoman for CSX, which operates the train.

The train was headed from Cincinnati to Waycross, Georgia, when the one car veered off the rails in Blount County, which is just south of Knoxville.

By Tina Burnside and Ben Brumfield