Train crash, chlorine leak in Graniteville continues to hurt the community - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Train crash, chlorine leak in Graniteville continues to hurt the community

January 6, 2005 January 6, 2005
(Graniteville-AP) October 29, 2005 - The people of Graniteville have been dealt another blow. The same year a train wreck and chlorine leak killed nine people, the town learned one of their major industries will slash 350 jobs.

Residents say the resolve they gained in the wake of that deadly chemical spill will help them overcome this latest hardship.

Ten months after the accident, new fire trucks, houses decorated for Halloween and trains running slower through the center of Graniteville are signs the mill town is getting back to normal.

Graniteville Fire Chief Phil Napier, "I things are healing as quickly as we can. It seems like we always have another chapter."

Avondale Mills, the plant that sits right near the site of the train crash, has just announced they are going to lay off 350 workers from the part of the plant most heavily damaged. A spokesperson says the chlorine affected some machinery so badly, it'll have to be taken apart and cleaned. He didn't know how long that would take.

Warrenville resident Faye Johnson, "I think it's real sad. Most people around here depend on the industry."

Kenny Key lives in Graniteville, he says, "I think it's another hurdle you just have to get over. It's going to take time"

Kenny Key works at the plant, Faye Johnson's husband does too. Neither fear for their jobs, but rather for the future of Graniteville.

"This small town did not expect this. They thought after the derailment, everything would go back to normal, this is a blow to the mind," says Johnson.

But most everyone there understands the resilient community has survived far worse.

Napier, "It's knocked the wind out of us but we are still breathing and we're going to survive, and with time, plan to build back better than before."

A plant spokesman says long time employees at the division shut down will be able to bid for jobs in other mills within the company. Avondale hopes to restore all 350 jobs lost once the damage is fixed.

Reported by Heather Brown
Posted 6:10pm by Bryce Mursch

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