Massive Response To Decatur Threat Comes With Lots of Practice

DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — Emergency crews raced to organize possible mass evacuations during a potentially very serious situation when a suspicious package was found on a railcar near the Daikin plant in Decatur.

The package turned out to be marijuana, but the situation highlighted just how dangerous the chemicals that are transported through city limits could be if a worst case scenario would occur.

Emergency management officials say they can’t have a plan for every possible scenario but they do prepare as much as possible for every possible disaster, Thursday’s scare gave them a reason to put that training to work.

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

Decatur Mayor Don Kyle says he is proud of how quickly his team of EMA and other city and county employees sprang into gear to take control of the situation.

“This is why we prepare, we love having all the plants and the jobs they provide our city but it can be a double-edged sword because they do deal with some very dangerous chemicals,” Kyle said.

3 comments

  • Michael Kewl

    Excellent job by all parties involved in Decatur and they ALL did the correct & proper action…respond to the unknown threat as the real threat until proven otherwise!!!

    Kudo’s to ALL!!!

  • Heath Ferry

    While I enjoy the humor of the outcome, there was a stark reality that hit me yesterday while following this.

    Ok, this is just me speaking from over 23 years of military experience and 3 different wars and this is a few things that I have learned.

    Unfortunately, whether it be law enforcement or military, we are notoriously reactive rather than proactive about acts of terror. Once we do decide to react, we decide to go with the classic overkill and excessive show of force. What does that make us? A TARGET OF OPPORTUNITY should a terrorist be watching.

    Secondly, we involve the press in EVERYTHING!!! I lost track of every time I flew embedded reporters into combat as far back as Desert Storm era. They were everywhere, getting in the way, and filming or recording everything. This is a mistake. If a terrorist organization wants to get a good idea of our response protocols, just watch the news. There it all is. Every location showing up on Goggle Maps. Every special response team prominently shown on TV. Awesomely stupid.

    While it is totally amusing that this was found to be merely some weed stuck on a train, this also shows how notoriously weak we are in security. Who is to say that this was not a probing tactic by either a drug cartel or other terrorist organization? They saw how we reacted, they saw how we did EVERYTHING. So now, useful information has been gained by every would be terrorist organization that may have been thinking about an attack.

    In Iraq and Afghanistan (been to both), this is a common way to attack. You create a diversion and as people scatter and fall back to “safe” positions, then the real attack begins. On a far more worse scale. While these terrorists live in the most remote, harsh, and below third world conditions this does not mean that they are not smart and extremely calculating.

    • Terry Goodman

      Heath, first of all thank you for your service. Your comment is very thought provoking. What really struck me was your second point, about the press being involved in everything. It was very strange to me that yesterday there was very little local coverage of this event, basically non-existent. Very intriguing, since talcum powder on an envelope or a toy gun at school usually gets instant nationwide coverage. I’m sure I was not the only Decatur resident wondering if I should break out the plastic wrap and duct tape or grab the B.O.B.

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