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6,000 Back Home After Derailment

Mon., July 21, 1997, midnight

Nearly all 6,000 residents evacuated after a train carrying chemicals derailed were allowed back into their homes Sunday, once crews destroyed cars full of a flammable industrial material.

Three or four families will still be barred from returning, since they live in a half-mile radius where the order remains in effect, said Cliff Lusk, spokesman for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

No one was injured when 11 cars derailed Friday, or when authorities on Saturday dynamited two cars carrying 35,000 gallons of chloroprene, a chemical that can be used to create the synthetic rubber neoprene.

DuPont Co., which owns the chemical, told authorities it would be dangerous to unload because the chemical can explode when its temperature is raised above 32 degrees, Lusk said.

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