Decatur Police: Package at Daikin Plant Contained Marijuana

DECATUR, Ala (WHNT) -Decatur Police say the suspicious package found Thursday morning at the Daikin plant contained a large amount of marijuana.  The FBI office in Birmingham says crews on the scene have determined the device at the Daikin plant is NOT dangerous.   The train originated in Mexico.

Decatur Police have now reopened Highway 20 and say the situation is over.

Here is our blog, where we posted updates as the situation developed through the morning.

The investigation caused a major disruption, including the dismissal or evacuation of several schools in Decatur, Morgan County, Limestone County and Lawrence County.  This was done as a precaution while police learned what they were dealing with.

There was heightened concern, because the package was on a railcar containing hydrogen flouride, a flammable gas.

Decatur Police, Decatur Fire, the Huntsville Bomb Squad and the FBI were all involved in the investigation at the Daikin plant. The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, Morgan County EMA and Limestone County EMA were also a part of it.

Highway 20 near the Daikin plant was shut down for a time while the bomb squad moved in, but the road is open again.

Marine Police have also re-opened river traffic from Mallard Fox Industrial Park to the Highway 31 river bridge.

The Decatur Public Library closed due to the situation.

Wayne Farms says second shift WILL report as scheduled, since the package has been determined to not be dangerous.

Earlier Thursday

WHNT News 19 spoke with Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin earlier Thursday, when she was inside the Daikin plant.  She said a worker at the plant found the package connected to a railcar during a regular security check.

The following schools were dismissed or evacuated earlier Thursday:

Calhoun Community College

The Decatur campus of Calhoun and the Alabama Center for the Arts in downtown Decatur will RE-OPEN this afternoon, November 21, 2013, at 4:00 pm for scheduled evening classes.

Decatur City Schools

-Austin High School dismissing at 11:20 a.m.
-Decatur High School dismissing at 11:20 a.m.
-Julian Harris – dismissed at approximately 9:45 a.m.
-Leon Sheffield – dismissed at approximately 9:45 a.m.
-Benjamin Davis – dismissed at approximately 9:45 a.m.
-Woodmeade – dismissed at approximately 9:45 a.m.
-West Decatur – dismissed at approximately 9:45 a.m.
-All other Decatur Schools will have a liberal check-out policy.

Morgan County Schools

West Morgan High, Middle and Elementary – dismissed at 10:30 a.m.  Any students who didn’t get picked up will be bused to the Danville High School gymnasium. Any students who were bused home, whose families weren’t there, were taken to Danville High School as well.

Lawrence County Schools

East Lawrence High, Middle and Elementary – dismissing immediately (10:40 a.m.) – parents have until 11 a.m. to pick up students. After that, students will be taken by bus to the Moulton Civic Center.

Limestone County Schools

-Blue Springs Elementary – not dismissing, evacuating students to Cedar Hill Elementary
-Clements and Tanner High Schools – not dismissing, but evacuating students to Ardmore High School

Hartselle City Schools

Hartselle City Schools is aware of and continues to closely monitor the situation in Decatur at the Daikin America plant. Hartselle Schools are not impacted by this evacuation at the present time. The school system has a representative at the Morgan County EMA and should any changes occur, we will notify schools and parents immediately. The system also has contingency plans in place for transportation should they become necessary.

 

160 comments

  • devan marsh

    I live in athens al off of hwy 127 between elkmont high school and piney chapel elementary…do we need to go somewhere or will we be okay

    • tom M.

      The most deadly railcars into Daikin contain HF, hydroflouric acid. It is a gas and incredibly deadly. This is why they do security checks. According to the Daikin employees who told me this when I worked at the plant, a single railcar could take out “the entire county” if released. Parkway Medical center used to store calcium permanganate just in case there was a small release, but they wouldnt have alot. hF keeps eating flesh until it reacts with calcium, so not until it hits bone… Or calcium
      permanganate savv.

    • Michael Kewl

      Go read the safety analysis at Wheeler Public Library done for the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant to see the extremely toxic & dangerous materials that pass thru Decatur each day via railrod…you will be concerned next time you see a train go by…

  • Michael Pollick

    I’m NOT an official, but the impression I’m getting is that people in Athens and points north, like elkmont and piney chapel, are out of the estimated danger zone. Tanner and Clements students may end up as far north as Ardmore if they’re not picked up by parents, but I don’t believe students in Athens schools are being evacuated at this time. You’re probably safe in your area, but use your own best judgement if things escalate in Decatur.

    • liqwidzero

      That’s when I would notify my employer of the events and what the local law enforcement and agencies are saying, and tell him I am leaving to a safe distance whether the employer likes it or not. You only have one life on this Earth, might as well make wise decisions with it.

  • JS

    Ok, so leave it to Morgan county to leave us holding our hands up wondering what is going on…….our kids have been released from school, does that mean we should go for “higher ground”? What does “hold and wait” mean???? We wait until we hear the boom and then run? I’ve tried to call EMA and of course, they have no info because they won’t answer the phone.

    • BRVTS

      EMA is not answering…….they are kinda busy dealing with a threat. They provided info to the TV News, you know they evacuated the schools to protect the children. IMO they probably expect the adults to use there common sense and make a decision for their family. If EMA mandated a 25 mile evacuation and the pkg turned out to be nothing, then in am sure you would bitch because they cried wolf.

    • AJ

      Thanks Step. Wish I would have seen your comment @ 1115 when you posted it! Why did they still wait so long to release that info if y’all knew already. We could have stopped worrying hours ago.

      • Jeremiah D. Bates

        Because the FEDS were using this to test the counties response and reactions of the people in this county and surrounding areas for when those in power decide to pull the plug on America through an economic disaster and or some other event. This whole “incident” smells like 2 week old dead fish to me. That is the brownest and oddest looking marijuana I have ever seen.

  • James Rickard

    Austin High School Decutar HS wil be dismissing @ 11:20Am if students do not have rides they will be housed @ schools. Via DCS phone cast

    • James Rickard

      If your child walks or rides a bus to school @ Austin they will be housed in Cafeteria and will need to be checked out. VIA AHS Phone cast

  • Mark

    My brother works 3 miles from the railroad site where the package was discovered. He said they are evacuating everyone within a 25 mile radius.

  • unit6

    All railroads are shut down in the area and Athens. Say its a 25 mile blast area. Someone with the RR just said it was probably a GPS device on top of the car.

  • donna garner screws

    I am surprised that no sirens are going on. I live about 2 miles from this and had my son who was in class to leave now…i would not know.Trinity question above…it is bad enough that they are sending West Morgan kids not picked up from school to Danville. I actually worked at a Nuclear Facility for years…and they are designed much different., Nuclear is a reaction from steam heated to cause and effect another action ,,,Nuclear plants are designed to implode inward and nuclear leaks would only be possible if the core melted down….according to the details for the immediate danger and impact… would be more detrimental considering the chemicals that plant deals with. When you say it is nothing nuclear….that is redundant .. In our area the nuclear facility generates steam to boil the uranium which forces the blades to turn., That poses little threat unless there were a melt down. However, the Daiken plant has highly volatile chemicals like any of the gases but also contains lots of polymers and other defense chemicals used in conjunction with boeing.

    • bill morgan

      you obviously know nothing about how a nuclear plant operates. Instead of trying to show how much you know, why not keep quiet? Are you an idiot or do you just play one on the internet?

    • yourplce92

      I bet l know why you don’t work at a nuke plant anymore. I’ve never been trained in nuclear physics but am smart enough to know that the uranium heats water which turns to steam and the steam turns the generator blades. If the nuclear industry is hiring folks as yourself we are all doomed.

  • Patricia M Morrow

    They say the most dangerous area is 25 miles northeast, but they are not evacuating any of the Madison county schools????! Last I looked at a map Madison and Huntsville are NE of Decatur!!!!!!

  • Concerned

    From whnt blog
    “Decatur Police Lt. John Crouch said the rail car the package is attached to contains hydrogen flouride, which is a hazardous material. Police still aren’t certain what the package contains, so that’s why they are exercising precaution.”

  • Kurt

    Weather it is HF or Fluorine or some other acid most evacuation distances are 1 mile down wind or less for large spills. They have exceeded that distance.

    • Bobo

      You are talking about a “spill” which this is not. This would be an explosion and It would be greatly dispersed to around 15 – 20 miles in minutes. Bonehead

  • LeShay

    Ok everyone you are all missing the big picture!!! If that bomb goes off then the bomb at the daikin plant will blow and then every plant down the river will most likely blow and that will cause browns ferry to blow up and then we are all in big trouble!!! This is very serious!!! Just think about it all of those plants on the river have very explosive things and then browns ferry is a nuclear plant and that will wipe out everything!!!

  • Klancey

    Us people in Madison consume a lot of fluoride. We are not able to be affected by these chemicals. That’s why it’s business as usual here

    • Dan

      You are a fricking idiot. HF is a highly caustic acidic material that eats until it hits calcium which neutralizes it. My father suffered a “minor” HF burn through a leak in a boot about 5 years ago. He has not been the same yet. This stuff is nothing to joke about.

  • Lisa Kirby

    The problem is not just Dakin plant but 3 is right there as well and they produce and store all kinds of chemicals. BP is close too.

    • bamagurl

      it is not right to blame people for all this stuff if you don’t know who done it then stop putting out stupid comments about a person that hasn’t been in office for 5 years now

      • Emily Bradford

        I’m making a citizen’s arrest on behalf of the Grammar Police for a subject/verb agreement infraction. The penalty is you should not post on internet boards until you understand how to avoid this infraction in the future.

  • Mike

    well idk if i should leave……..hmmmm…….all i think of is all those times in the movies when i was like if they just leave it would be ok…..my instincts say yes. so peace going to b-ham.

      • MountainDweller

        Every time I see something like this with Flouride, I wonder how Madison residents sleep at night with SO much Flouride ADDED to their water supply. Frightful for those of us that understand its toxicity.

      • bmrisko

        I hope this finally brings some attention to flouridated water. Maybe this is why all of this happened. I am glad everyone is ok except for the poor fellow that lost his drugs.

  • Jeremiah D. Bates

    Should the “danger zone” be to the North West since the winds are out of the south east? Isn’t it lovely they put this hazardous chemical in the water supply? I would also like to add that I thought America was the land of the free and home of the brave. Evacuating such a wide area over a “suspicious” package sure doesn’t look like it.

    I see the so called “officials” are using the new Federal talking point of “hold in place” or “shelter in place” which really means a temporary localized Martial Law scenario.

  • Jeremiah D. Bates

    Stop living in fear people. Shutting down cities over “suspicious” packages such as lunch pails etc have been happening more and more over the recent years. I thought this was the land of the free and home of the brave, yet everyone is a slave to the fear the Feds are promoting through the DHS and using to militarize/federalize local police.

    If we as a Nation or community are living righteously and serving our Father in Heaven there is nothing to fear.

    • Reginia

      Dose of reality: 1) We as a nation aren’t living righteously and haven’t been for a very long time! For those of us who are trying, we still have to protect ourselves from the idiots who don’t respect that and, 2) I am a Christian and I grately serve my Father in Heaven, but my Heavenly Father also gives me the wisdom to question things and to protect myself and my family from things that can harm all that I hold dear.

      • Toph

        lookout its bob the grammer police! You got her good and you sticked it to her and you got your poinit across. good job bob.

        you are a idiot bob. lol

        hows that for ghastly grammar?

      • Jeremiah D. Bates

        History has proven government restricting the freedoms, liberties, aka rights of its people all in the name of “safety” is the norm and every act that heads in that direction should be looked at with extreme caution and be questioned. Since when is a bag a “device”? Maybe there are those who like to cower in fear locking down city blocks,whole cities and or evacuating schools to other areas every time a bag is left somewhere because some elected servant who calls themselves an”official” is scared that there are “terrorists” everywhere. This is a direct result of the Federalization and Militarization of local police through DHS and FEMA. It is a power grab through fear to justify the growing police state.

        I prefer to live as my forefathers did and keep my liberties and take the chance something bad might happen once and a while.

        God Bless

    • Keeper

      If the bag belongs to an undocumented resident can law enforcement take it. I don’t think they have jurisdiction?

  • huffbuffer

    How long did it take for the police to get some drugs and plant it inside the package? Will the sandwich and chips actually found inside be used as evidence or lunch?

    Regards
    Huffbuffer

  • Brad Cook Jr.

    We here in North Alabama have an arsenal of chemicals, railroad cars and tracks, nuclear plants, and of course Redstone Arsenal at our back doors. There are safety systems and procedures like visual inspections every day as precautionary measures. The simple solution here is to have an evacuation plan in place. Everyone should have what is called a “bugout” bag in their vehicles. Necessary meds, water, some protein bars, flashlights, coats or blankets, and first aid kits. This way when the sirens sound you can grab your bag, follow the evacuation routes, and be gone in mere minutes. Speed and preparation saves lives.

  • Reginia

    Calhoun PA’d for everybody to quickly get out of the building leaving a lot of questions and panic to ensue. My daughter thought it was a bomb threat. She didn’t have a clue what protocol to follow since she didn’t know squat about what the danger was. And, who’s got time to stop and look it up in the student handbook. Everybody got in their cars to go home, which only resulted in a bottleneck trying to get out of campus and onto Hwy. 31. Decatur City very unorganized!

  • tinalou

    There was a comment on here posted long before the bomb squad examined the package from someone who said they were an employee at the plant and said the package was just drugs and all employees were still at the plant. This comment has since been deleted. Seems kinda sketchy to me.

    • Tom

      definantly sketchy. FBI may have found a bomb , in that case DHS would get involved. If anything to protect the investigation while they figure out where this came from.

  • Bob

    Marijuana?! How do you confuse marijuana and hydroflouric acid? You don’t, this country is willing to blame anyone but themselves for a mistake.

    • Chris

      So you would rather it been a bomb no one alert anyone it blow up and we be burying people and the hospitals full? No one knew what was in the package. It was a few hours not days. Just like bad weather some times it goes around us and some times it is a direct hit. We have to plan for the times it hits. Does it cost money? Sure. Is it worth it? no question… yes!

    • Terry Le Dactyl

      You are so right.
      Best thread I’ve read in long time.
      Each new comment has me rolling.
      Humans can be so delightfully quick witted.
      Gotta love and support all those funny people who don’t have sticks up their tight butts.
      Good Stuff.

  • Reginia

    MountainDweller, We, Madisonians are living just fine and we can land planes with the glow from our brilliant white teeth!

  • JW

    I’m in Quality Control here at Browns Ferry and she did miss it ever so slightly. This place is safer than you might think.

  • Nurse1

    My husband is at BP and this could have been a very serious problem, nothing wrong with being cautious, and the first time it’s not taken serious, like a tornado warning that wiped out several communities, than everyone will be looking for someone to blame. Just don’t take for granted that this was so minor, it could have been bad. Don’t play with people’s lives. From a wife and mother in this community.

  • loupgarous

    As far as “taking out the whole county,” no. Hydrogen fluoride is indeed very toxic and nothing to fool around with, but a whole tank car of it wouldn’t even take out an entire neighborhood. A whole tank car of nerve gas wouldn’t be enough to take out an entire county unless people in E-suits put it in syringes and placed a drop on the skin of every resident of the county by hand. An accidental spill would confine most of the material in of the chemical plant and its surroundings, and those people would indeed be very dead..

  • Tyko Mäkitammi

    Incidents like this are a reminder of the absurdly high cost of enforcing marijuana prohibition. What do we have to show for all the money spent enforcing it? Consumption of marijuana continues to increase every year. We should stop throwing money at a lost cause and accept that fact that many Americans want marijuana, and if the legal market cannot meet the demand, then the illicit market will. It’s time to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol and put an end to this madness.

    • LCTmadison

      Cost does not matter in times like this. Lives were saved and procedures were followed. The government did everything right and the next time it may not be a false positive. Cuddos to the city of Decatur.

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