A freight train carrying large amounts of a highly toxic and flammable gas derailed and caught fire just outside of Knoxville, Tennessee on Friday morning, sparking aÂ massive city-wide evacuation.
The train was carrying a chemical called acrylonitrile, which a substance used to make acrylic fibers, and poses serious health risks if breathed in.
Ten officers have already been hospitalized from inhaling the fumes.
A shelter for residents has been set up at a local high school, and authorities are telling people that they should prepare to remain there at least through the night. One local from the area, Brittany Parrott, said she didn’t know that anything was wrong until she got a knock on her door early this morning, but says as soon as she stepped outside, she could tell that something wasn’t right.
“You could smell it in the air,” Parrott said. “I had a headache, I was feeling nauseated and lightheaded, all the symptoms.”
According to Yahoo News, the National Transportation Safety Board is not investigating the accident, but will monitor it and could send an investigator later, NTSB spokesman Terry Williams said in an email. He said the agency considers factors such as loss of life, injuries, environmental damage and new safety issues when deciding whether to launch an investigation.