February 12, 2003 at 4:07 AM CST - Updated June 18 at 12:00 PM
Dangerous Derailment Clean Up Heads Into Day Four By: Kate Scott
(Du Quoin, IL)--Hundreds of Tamaroa residents spent their third night away from home on Tuesday, after a dangerous train derailment spilled toxic chemicals and forced them to evacuate on Sunday morning.
Some people who live just outside of town were allowed to return home on Tuesday afternoon, but a one-mile radius was still blocked off as the clean up continued that evening.Residents who were still out of their homes did get the chance to meet with railroad officials, as well as state and local emergency management, to ask questions about what was going on in their backyards.
“They're testing the air and the soil and the water, and they said maybe tomorrow they'll close the circle a little more until they get everybody back in their homes,” reported evacuee Jean Krug as she left the closed-door meeting.
At a media news conference earlier on Tuesday, Tamaroa Village President William Place told reporters that there was one main thing that had to happen before the town could reopen.“The removal of tank cars that might possibly be damaged,” he listed. “And of those that are still intact and not leaking, but could (leak) if they were moved.”
Until that process is completed, the hundreds of still-displaced residents won't be moving from their motel rooms, or their guest beds with friends and relatives. It’s an inconvenience, to be sure.But most of the townspeople seem to understand.“We’ll just take whatever comes and make the best of it,” vowed evacuee Mary Schultz as she left Tuesday’s meeting.“This wasn't something someone contrived to do to the people of Tamaroa. This was an accident.”Jean Krug also expressed sympathy for railroad workers and admiration for emergency crews.“They’ve done an outstanding job. They're all working together as a team, and they're working around the clock to try to get the people back into their homes.”
For more information about the derailment and clean up process, you can click on the following link: