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Blog: Package Found on Railcar Near Daikin Plant

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DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) – Here are the updates we posted earlier Thursday as information came in about a suspicious package found on a railcar near the Daikin plant in Decatur.  The package turned out to be marijuana.

The situation shut down several schools in Decatur, Morgan, Limestone and Lawrence counties, and traffic on Highay 20 was also affected as law enforcement teams investigated the situation.

Claire Aiello November 21, 201311:26 am

Morgan County EMA to hold update at 11:30 a.m.  WHNT News 19 will be there and we’ll post updates shortly.

Claire Aiello November 21, 201311:27 am

Also, new school dismissals: Austin and Decatur High Schools will dismiss at 11:20 a.m.  Many more details about school dismissals/evacuations in this story: http://whnt.com/2013/11/21/breaking-5-decatur-schools-being-dismissed-suspicious-device-found-near-daikin-plant/

Claire Aiello November 21, 201311:31 am

Decatur Police Lt. John Crouch is at the news conference speaking.  He is describing how different agencies responded to the scene. 

Claire Aiello November 21, 201311:32 am

He says bomb squad will move in next to X-ray the package and determine if it’s explosive. At that point, they’ll decide what to do next.

Claire Aiello November 21, 201311:33 am

Lt. Crouch said this type of situation is what various departments train for, to be prepared for.  

Claire Aiello November 21, 201311:35 am

Decatur Mayor Don Kyle is speaking now, assuring people the various agencies are using an abundance of caution to protect the situation.

Claire Aiello November 21, 201311:45 am

The State Marine Police have been notified about the situation. We understand river traffic has been asked to stay away from the Daikin plant area, as a precaution.

Claire Aiello November 21, 201311:54 am

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.

Claire Aiello November 21, 201311:55 am

The news conference is over – we’ll post additional details shortly.

Claire Aiello November 21, 201312:02 pm

Photo by Nick Banaszak, at the barricades near the Daikin plant in Decatur.

Carson Clark November 21, 201312:16 pm

Police say the rail car contains Hydrogen Fluoride.  Here are some facts about the substance from the Centers for Disease Control: 
Hydrogen fluoride is a chemical compound that contains fluorine.
It can exist as a colorless gas or as a fuming liquid, or it can
be dissolved in water.

Hydrogen fluoride is used to make refrigerants, herbicides,
pharmaceuticals, high-octane gasoline, aluminum, plastics,
electrical components, and fluorescent light bulbs. Sixty percent
of the hydrogen fluoride used in manufacturing is for processes to
make refrigerants.

Carson Clark November 21, 201312:19 pm

An update from Decatur Police:  Highway 20 is now being closed between Hwy 67 and Woodall Rd. Bomb squad moving
in.

Carson Clark November 21, 201312:26 pm

From Decatur Police:  Highway 20 now closed from hwy 67 to Lawrence Co. line. Coast Guard has closed
river traffic from Mallard Fox Industrial Park to the Highway 31 river
bridge.

Carson Clark November 21, 201312:30 pm

EMA says tornado sirens will sound if an emergency evacuation is needed.

Carson Clark November 21, 201312:38 pm

The Decatur Public Library is now closing due to the situation at the Daikin Plant.

Carson Clark November 21, 201312:44 pm

Wayne Farms in Decatur says there will be no second shift today.

Carson Clark November 21, 201312:47 pm

FBI office in Birmingham says the device is NOT explosive.

Carson Clark November 21, 201312:50 pm

Highway 20 is now back open.

Carson Clark November 21, 201312:52 pm

FBI says the device is NOT dangerous.

Carson Clark November 21, 201312:53 pm

Decatur Police will hold another news conference at 1pm.  Again, the device has been determined to be non-dangerous.

Carson Clark November 21, 201312:54 pm

Wayne Farms says that since the device is not dangerous, the second shift WILL report as normal.

Carson Clark November 21, 20131:10 pm

Police say the package contained marijuana.

Carson Clark November 21, 20131:10 pm

The train originated in Mexico.

Carson Clark November 21, 20131:12 pm

Police say the package contained 2 kilos of marijuana.

Carson Clark November 21, 20131:23 pm

Decatur Police say the situation is all clear.

Carson Clark November 21, 20131:27 pm

Police say the package was about the size of a large phone book.

Drew Galloway November 21, 20132:36 pm

Tune into WHNT News 19 tonight at 5, 6, and 6:30 for the latest information on this suspicious package.  WHNT is working to bring you multiple angles on how this situation affected Decatur today.

Claire Aiello November 21, 20134:00 pm

This is a picture of the marijuana, from Decatur Police.

Carson Clark November 21, 20134:00 pm

Decatur Police say the package contained 2 kilos of marijuana.