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Evacuation order remains for 30 homes after train derailment

An Outreach Center in Hyndman remained open over the weekend as people put in claims for lost property and lost time at work. (WJAC)

HYNDMAN -- As crews with CSX continue to remove rail cars and clean debris, an evacuation order that includes about 30 homes remains, meaning a number of families won't be able to go home for at least another week.

Edward Kennell's wife saw their home for the first time Saturday as CSX escorted her inside to get some of her belongings before she had to leave again.

On Wednesday, they were jolted awake early in the morning.

"My wife said, 'What happened? Did you hear thunder?'" Kennell said.

They would find out later that a train had derailed nearby, barely missing their home.

Timothy Harrison, whose family was staying in his wife's family home nearby, said they're used to hearing trains in town.

But it never sounded like what he heard Wednesday.

"This one was very, very strange," he said. "It was just a different sound."

Harrison and his family are from out of town, but they try to get down to Hyndman to stay about once a month. His wife always used to visit her grandparents here, and now they come to that home to get away from the noise of the city.

"She was pretty shook up," Harrison said. "Especially because the house is so special to her."

The Harrisons can't go back to that home, except to get their belongings. His wife was glad to see the home in one piece.

"It was a relief. Because you don't know," Harrison said.

"You never know," Kennell said. "[If the rail car] had rolled over another time, it could've killed ... maybe half a dozen people. Maybe more than that."

On Saturday in Hyndman, though, there was a sense of camaraderie. Everyone was alive. It was a miracle, many said, that nobody had even been hurt.

And, at the end of the day, while it's difficult to be away from home, it's not the house itself that's important. It's the people inside.

"Once we knew everybody was okay, it was like... Everything will be fine," Harrison said. "It's just stuff."

The CSX Outreach Center in Hyndman will be open Sunday and Monday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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