Package That Prompted Evacuations was a Bag of Drugs
DECATUR, AL (WZDX) - Hundreds of students and several businesses were evacuated Thursday in Decatur after a suspicious package was found attached to a rail car.
It all started around 8:00 when a Daikin employee at the facility noticed one of the seals broken on that rail car. When they looked inside, they saw something suspicious and alerted authorities.
"At 7:40 this morning, the Decatur Police Department received a call of a suspicious package attached to a rail car at the Daikin facility," said Lieutenant John Crouch.
That rail car was full of hydrogen fluoride.
"It is my understanding that it is potentially fatal if inhaled, and if it comes in contact with the skin, it will cause burns."
Officials worried that if the package detonated and the tanker exploded, it would have an impact within a 25 mile radius of the scene. With that in mind, the Morgan County Emergency Management agency activated its evacuation plan.
In total, 15 schools throughout Morgan and Limestone County were evacuated as a precaution.
"The plume would be carrying it into Limestone County if something were to go wrong," said Eddie Hicks, Morgan County Emergency Management Director.
Around 1:00, the all-clear was given.
"What we've discovered is a package of marijuana, estimate at least a kilo. The information that we've received from Daikin employees is that the rail car initially entered the country coming across the Mexican border at Brownsville, Texas and we have every reason to believe that the package was attached to the rail car when it came into the country," said Crouch.
"I just want to say thank you to all the agencies involved because they took it step by step from the very beginning just as their training had taught them to do," said Decatur Mayor Don Kyle.
All the students who had been picked up from schools earlier this morning were allowed to stay home for the rest of the day.