On July 2, 2015, a train carrying toxic industrial materials from Cincinnati to Georgia derailed in eastern Tennessee, joining the ranks of terrible U.S. train crashes in recent memory. While no one was killed or injured in the derailment, it produced a toxic flume of smoke, which forced 5,000 residents within a two-mile radius of the crash site to evacuate their homes.
The derailed car was carrying acrylonitrile, a hazardous material used when making plastics. It is dangerous if inhaled. So, over a dozen first responders were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment after exposure to the chemical. Multiple local businesses were also shut down as a precaution.
Maryville City Manager Greg McClain said there's no indication yet whether well water has been affected by the incident. As such, residents are being urged to drink bottled water until more information is available.
Worst U.S. train crashes
On May 12, 2015, an Amtrak passenger train carrying more than 200 passengers from Washington, DC to New York derailed just north of Philadelphia on the Northeast Corridor. Passengers reportedly heard a loud bang and described what felt like a wide turn, before the train ultimately flipped on its side and skidded off the tracks.
The speed limit on the bend where the derailment occurred is 55 mph. However, preliminary data released by the NTSB, May 13, 2015, shows that the train had exceeded 100 mph before the crash. Further calibrations are being conducted.