South Carolina Investigators Prepare to Enter Train Wreck 'Hot Zone'

Augusta Chronicle Slideshow: Graniteville Train Crash

GRANITEVILLE, SC -- Officials are donning their protective gear and making plans to proceed with the investigation into the 300-meter "hot zone" around the crash site of Thursday morning's train wreck that released deadly chlorine gas.

Officials believe that one of the three tankers carrying chlorine ruptured and that the other two cars are damaged but have not leaked.

"The extent of the damage has not yet been determined," said Robin Chapman, a spokesman for Norfolk Southern. "We'll do what we need to do to meet the community's needs."

On Thursday night, the railroad pulled 25 undamaged railcars away from the Graniteville crash site, where a two-locomotive train hauling 42 cars slammed into a parked train that morning.

Eight are known dead and more than 260 sought treatment for exposure to the chlorine released because of the accident.

Twenty-five of the cars were loaded, including the three that contained chlorine and others that contained sodium hydroxide and cresol.

The Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health has representatives at First Presbyterian Church, 224 Barnwell Ave. in Aiken, available to answer questions concerning chlorine and the other chemicals spilled in the crash.

The names of the eight dead have been released by Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton.

They include Willie C. Shealey, 43, from Graniteville, and John Laird, 24, employees at the Woodhead plant; Allen Frazier, 58, from Ridge Spring, and Steven Bagby, 38, from Augusta, at the Gregg plant; and Fred Rusty Rushton III, 41, from Graniteville, at the Stevens Steam plant.

A truck driver found dead was identified as Joseph L. Stone, from Quebec, Canada.

Found dead in his home on Main Street was Tony DeLoach, 56.

Christopher Seely, a train engineer from West Columbia, also died, Mr. Carlton said.