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Train Derailments Force Hundreds From Their Homes

June 19, 1995

MIAMI, Okla. (AP) _ A train loaded with toxic chemicals derailed Sunday, forcing an estimated 1,000 people to evacuate their homes.

Twelve of the 90 cars of the Burlington Northern train jumped the track just before 11 a.m. No injuries were reported.

The tracks run through the city of 13,000 about 95 miles northeast of Tulsa.

The train was carrying ethyl methylketone, butylene and phenol carbolic acid, said Terry Durborow, emergency management director in Miami. The chemicals, solvents, are extremely flammable and toxic. Hazardous material teams were at the scene.

No chemicals leaked from the overturned cars. However, the chemicals posed a threat until the cars could be righted and drained or moved, said Neal Calton, Burlington Northern’s manager of environmental services in Springfield, Mo. The cars were expected to be moved sometime Monday morning.

In Corning, Ark., meanwhile, about 500 residents were allowed to return home Sunday night, a day after 21 cars of a Union Pacific freight train derailed and one carrying a petroleum-based liquid exploded and caught fire.

The residents had been evacuated as the fire sent thick black smoke and soot through the town of about 3,000 in the northeast corner of the state. Some of the homes are across the street from the tracks.

The liquid was butadienes, which is used to make plastics and rubber, said Steve Barkley, a spokesman for Union Pacific. There were no serious injuries and the fire was extinguished by about 8 p.m. Sunday.

Edna Oglesby, 71, said she was preparing to cook supper Saturday when the explosion knocked her out her back door.

``It looked like the whole sky was on fire,″ she said.

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