(Bartow, Georgia – January 6, 2019)
A seven-mile evacuation circle was ordered last Sunday after a Norfolk Southern freight train derailed 38 cars. Several of the cars were loaded with hazardous materials and some of which were compromised and spilled. The derailment occurred about 8:00 PM, EST, Sunday night near the Jefferson County, GA community of Bartow.
At least 500 area residences and businesses were first evacuated when tank cars carrying hydrogen peroxide, hydrochloric acid and chlorine were either spilling or feared to be endangered of spilling. That evacuation circle was later shrunk to three miles when it was learned only the less volatile of the chemicals was being unintentionally dispersed. Three law enforcement and one firefighter were sent to an area hospital for treatment of respiratory injuries after being exposed to the hydrogen peroxide.
Railroad and emergency management officials were saying that it could “take days” before the spilled materials, much of which was dissipating into the atmosphere, could be cleaned up, the derailed rail cars re-railed, and the community returned to a state of normalcy. Meanwhile, no probable cause for the wreck was being offered by the rail company.