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4,000 Flee Fumes in Arkansas Derailment

Associated Press

About 4,000 persons were evacuated Sunday after 20 freight cars, including some carrying hazardous chemicals such as vinyl chloride, derailed and burned, authorities said.

Firefighters, fearing an explosion and toxic fumes, pulled back from the blaze, which still was burning more than eight hours after the derailment around 1:30 p.m.

“If it burns down and gives out, we’re home free,” said Jack Palmateer, Jefferson County coordinator for the state Office of Emergency Services. “But for now we’re still sitting on the pivot point.”

No injuries were reported. The cause of the derailment had not been determined.

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