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Kentucky Derailment Re-Ignites HazMat Debate

Blog posting by Phil Williams

A fiery train derailment, just outside Louisville, has re-ignited questions raised by my "Toxic Targets" investigation. 

As you'll see below, the AP says the train was headed from Birmingham to Louisville -- which presumably means the toxic chemicals passed through Nashville.

SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- At least 11 people have been treated for the effects of smoke from burning chemicals after Tuesday's train fire in northern Bullitt County.

Several CSX train cars derailed and burned just south of Louisville, shutting down a busy interstate highway and forcing evacuations. 

A CSX spokesman said the train was carrying hazardous materials. The blaze produced a massive column of black smoke in the mostly rural area.

Authorities ordered an evacuation near the wreck, including an elementary school. 

CSX spokesman Gary Sease reports the train consisted of four locomotives and 80 cars headed from Birmingham, Ala. to Louisville. 

He said 41 cars were loaded with freight and the rest were empty.

The cause of the derailment has not been determined.

A Kentucky National Guard unit was mobilized to help authorities check the quality of the air near the wreck.

Here's what I revealed back in November:

[E]very day, chemicals just as deadly move through the Midstate's neighborhoods -- a lot right through downtown Nashville -- by train.

That's how some experts fear the next attack on America could be delivered.

"These are cargoes the federal government calls weapons of mass destruction," says homeland security consultant Fred Millar.

They are cargoes that, like chlorine tankers spotted by NewsChannel 5 passing through Nashville, are clearly marked: "inhalation hazard."

"It should have a skull and crossbones -- a big skull and crossbones -- on the wide of these tank cars with big letters that say poison gas," Millar says.

To read more: "Trains Bring Toxic Targets Through Midstate."

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