Thursday, May 23, 2013 | 3:05 PM
A Norfolk Southern Train derailed at around 12:15 p.m. Thursday afternoon in downtown Bear Creek. The cause of the derailment is unknown at this time but under investigation. The train was 76 cars long, and about 13 of the cars left the track. The train was carrying hazardous materials, but luckily the cars that were overturned were empty.
Phillips Elementary and High Schools were evacuated according to plans that were in place for any derailment. All children and teachers were safely transported to St. Paul Baptist Church on County Highway 79. About four square blocks of Bear Creek was evacuated for safety precautions, and the evacuations went very well and without any major issues.
The Bear Creek Police Department, Bear Creek Fire Department, Haleyville Police Department, Haleyville Fire and Rescue, Alabama Department of Public Safety, Alabama Department of Transportation, Hackleburg Fire and Rescue, Marion County Sheriff's Department, Phil Campbell Rescue Squad, Phil Campbell Fire Department, East Franklin Fire Department, Delmar Fire Department, Blue Springs Fire Department, Marion County EMA, Winston County EMA, Franklin County Haz-Mat, RPS Ambulance Service, and the Alabama Fire Marshall's Office responded to the call and took appropriate measures to ensure the safety of the town and the first responders.
The Bear Creek Water Department shut down the water until it was deemed safe for use, but no issues were found with the water supply.
State Highway 13 was shut down for several hours but was reopened once the area was secure and the area was deemed safe for travel. Crews remain on the scene at this time, and sightseers are asked to steer clear of the area to allow crews room to work and to ensure their safety.
Stay tuned to Paradise 92.7 and HBTV for all details as this story continues.