published Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Package that forced Alabama school evacuations was drugs

DECATUR, Ala. — Authorities evacuated schools, stopped Tennessee River traffic and brought in a bomb squad before determining a package found on a rail at a chemical plant contained drugs.

The package was discovered early today on a rail car containing hazardous materials at Daikin America Inc., located in Decatur.

With a danger zone that could extend 25 miles in the event of an explosion, authorities evacuated schools, halted river traffic and shut down roads.

But a bomb squad found that the package contained a large amount of marijuana, not explosives. Police say it was about the size of a telephone book.

The train came to Alabama from Mexico. The rail car contained hydrogen fluoride, which can kill when inhaled.

About a dozen schools in Morgan, Lawrence and Limestone counties were affected.

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