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By AFP

Washington — A train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in Tennessee and caught fire, prompting a large-scale evacuation, firefighters said Thursday.

The train derailed near Maryville, close to the city of Knoxville, carrying acrylonitrile, a flammable, toxic compound that poses respiratory risks, firefighter Kermit Easterling said.

Some 5,000 residents are being evacuated, and firefighters are going door to door wearing breathing equipment to get people away from the fire, he said.

Firefighters are not battling the flames because of the dangers of acrylonitrile, and hazmat — hazardous material — teams have been called in to access the situation.

The train, which is also carrying containers of liquid petroleum gas, derailed just before midnight Wednesday, Easterling said.

There have been no reports of injuries, and a shelter has been set up at a local school for evacuated residents, the firefighter said.

File Photo: Freight Train Near Nashville Union Station, Reading Tom via Flickr 

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