Train derails in Petal; no injuries reported

By HASKEL BURNS,

Emergency and other local officials are in the process of clearing the scene of a train derailment near the intersection of U.S. 11 and Central Avenue in Petal that necessitated the evacuation of several homes in the area.

Scott Lees, public information officer with the Forrest County Sheriff’s Office, said a Norfolk-Southern train carrying denatured alcohol derailed at approximately midnight Thursday, at which point officials established a 150-foot perimeter around the site for work crews. No injuries were reported.

U.S. 11 was closed temporarily after the incident and later reopened, although Central Avenue near the tracks was still closed as of Friday afternoon. Although the Coleman Center for Families and Children has been closed for the day, the rest of the Petal School District opened as scheduled.

A temporary shelter has been opened at Petal Civic Center.

“Highway 11 is open and good to go; there shouldn’t be any disruptions along there,” Lees said. “There might be some trucks coming in to where they’re working at, but other than that it should be business as usual.

“They’re working on (Central Avenue), and they’re hoping it will be open by the end of the day. So they’re making progress.”

The cause of the derailment is still under investigation.

In addition to the Forrest County Sheriff’s Office, other responding agencies included the Petal Police Department, the Petal School District Police Department, Hattiesburg Police Department, Hattiesburg Fire Department, Mississippi Department of Transportation, Mississippi Highway Patrol, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, Emergency Management District, ESSI and Norfolk-Southern.