Decatur, Alabama: Schools Evacuated Over Suspicious Device on Train Near Daikin America Plant

November 21, 2013 Updated: November 21, 2013

Schools in Decatur, Ala., were evacuated on Thursday morning after a suspicious device was found on a rail car. The car is located near the Daikin America plant.

UPDATE: WAAY-TV reported that the bomb squad removed the suspicious device from the train, which was coming from Texas, and deemed that it was not explosive. It said the package contained a kilogram of marijuana.

Blue Springs Elementary; Calhoun Community College; Clements High School; East Lawrence High, Middle and Elementary; Julian Harris; Leon Sheffield; Benjamin Davis; Tanner High Schoo; Woodmeade; West Decatur and West Morgan High, Middle and Elementary were dismissed or evacuated, WHNT reported.

Primarily, schools in Decatur, Morgan County, Limestone County and Lawrence County were evacuated, said reports. 

The device was attached to a rail car at the Daikin, or Daiken, chemical manufacturing facility near Highway 20.

Officials are closing down Highway 20 between Highway 67 and Woodall Road. River traffic was closed off from Mallard Fox Industrial Park to Highway 31 river bridge.

If an explosion were to take place, the greatest danger area would be to the northeast of Dectur, said WAAY-TV. Emergency sirens will go off if the town has to be evacuated. Police have said the estimated danger potential is about 25 miles.

The rail car contains hazardous material, the station reported. said the train contains hydrogen fluoride gas.

Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin told WHNT that a worker at the Daikin plant discovered a package connected to the train car during a routine security check. “We’d rather be safe than sorry,” said Franklin.

TVA officials released a statement about the matter.

“TVA officials are closely monitoring the situation at the Daiken facility near Decatur. Plant operations are currently unaffected but site personnel are prepared to take the appropriate actions to protect the public, our employees and the facility,” the statement reads, according to Fox.

On Twitter, users commented about the incident.

“They’re saying we need to get OUT of Decatur,” one wrote.

Another wrote: “Class cancelled BC a bomb found on railroad track close to Decatur.”

“Crazy day in decatur. Just got off work because of this suspicious package situation at diakin,” said a user.

School Evacuations

Julian Harris, Leon Sheffield, Benjamin Davis, Woodmeade, West Decatur, and Decatur Campus of Calhoun Community College and the Alabama Center for the Arts  are being evacuated immediately.

West Morgan High School, West Morgan Middle School, West Morgan Elementary School have been dismissed at 10:30 a.m.

Clements and Tanner High Schools, and Blue Springs Elementary were evacuated to Ardmore High School and Cedar Hill Elementary.

East Lawrence High, Middle and Elementary schools are being evacuated to Moulton Coliseum, said WAAY-TV.