A 10-man disaster team, working in a driving rain that helped reduce the possibility of any potentially explosive sparks, pulled a split chlorine tanker from the wreckage of a derailed train yesterday and neutralized its lethal cargo in a chemical bath.
An estimated 2,000 to 3,500 persons were forced to flee their homes after the derailment Sunday. Eight persons died from inhaling chlorine gas.
One member of the chemical disaster team, John Prose, 23, inhaled some chemical fumes and was taken to a hospital, where he was listed in satisfactory condition.
The Youngstown derailment followed by just two days the explosion of a propane railroad tank car at Waverly, Tenn. Twelve persons were killed and more than 50 others injured in that blast.
In addition, a weekend derailment at Cades, Tenn., ruptured a tanker loaded with caustic soda, but the leak was successfully capped and the 150 persons who were evacuated were able to return to their homes yesterday.
Meanwhile, at Bowling Green, Ky., 33 cars of a 71-car special northbound Louisville & Nashville Railroad freight train derailed yesterday, temporarily blocking the L&N's main north-south line. No one was reported injured.
Assistant State Fire Marshal Gilbert Ellis said there was a possibility the special freight was made up in part of undamaged cars from the two derailments in Tennessee last week-end.