By Ron Clayton
SWEETWATER, Tenn. —; Cleanup crews worked through the night to safely remove chemicals from tank cars that were part of a 21-car train derailment early Tuesday.
Meanwhile, authorities said that 51 evacuated local residents who slept overnight in motels should be allowed to return home this morning and that U.S. Highway 11 and the Norfolk Southern rail line could reopen later in the day.
At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Monroe County Sheriff Doug Watson said authorities didn’t know why the cars left the track a half-mile north of the Sweetwater city limit at 2:45 a.m. Tuesday.
Susan Terpay, spokeswoman for Norfolk Southern, said the tanks were part of an 84-car train headed for Knoxville.
She said the cars contained butane, carbon dioxide. liquid propane, methyl methacrylate, an ingredient in plastic, and propylene oxide, which is used to make polyurethane, flame retardants and synthetic lubricants.
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For complete details, see tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.