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Many Hyndman residents happy to return home
HYNDMAN -- Three days after several train cars derailed and caught fire early Wednesday morning in Bedford County, there's some good news for people living in Hyndman, where it happened.
Most residents who were displaced are now allowed back into their homes.
About 1,000 people were told Wednesday to evacuate their homes.
Saturday morning, officials announced that after an air-quality sample was analyzed overnight, they determined there was no impact to the air quality.
Not everyone is allowed back, but those who are are very thankful.
It was three long days for residents in Hyndman, some having to bounce from hotel to hotel or forced to stay with relatives.
"The majority of evacuated residents can safely return home after 12 noon, this date, Saturday, Aug. 5," said Bedford County EMA director Dave Cubbison
After announcing air quality tests came back at safe levels, things are starting to get back to normal.
People were out mowing their lawns and moving back into their houses Saturday afternoon.
"Oh I jumped for joy, so my sister was like, yeah, you can go home," said Danielle Parsons.
Parsons stayed with her sister the past few days.
"I heard the explosion on Wednesday morning. It was very scary,” Parsons said. “I mean I jumped up and there was just flames. You could see it clear from my house."
But she went to work not knowing she couldn't come back home.
"I went to work every day. I had the same set of scrubs for three days but I washed them every night,” Parsons said. “You gotta do what you have to do."
Robert Spiker left his house five minutes before the derailment. He had to stay with his niece a few miles away.
"It is kind of frustrating. I mean, that you can't be back in your hometown, but things happen,” Spiker said. “And just like I said, thank god that he was with everybody and things will get back to normal."
Bonnie Beals and her son Chase are excited to sleep in their own beds.
"We're just glad to be home and thankful for all the help that we've gotten," Beals said.
Parsons said after days away, Saturday felt like a normal day.
"This is normally what I do every Saturday is I do my laundry and just enjoy the beautiful day,” Parsons said. “So it doesn't feel any different. It just feels like I've been home all week."
While trains are running again on the tracks, CSX and the community continue to clean up the mess left behind.
"This town will get back on its feet and everyone will work together," Spiker said.
For those back in their homes, CSX has set up an outreach center at the HOPE for Hyndman Charter School where you can be compensated for inconvenience associated with the train derailment and reimbursed for any expenses and lost earnings.