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The Nation

July 13, 1986

A 5-day-old fire in a derailed tank car filled with phosphorus was extinguished, allowing about 300 people in a Dayton, Ohio, suburb to return home. Fifteen cars of a freight train derailed Tuesday, forcing more than 17,000 people to leave their homes ahead of a potentially toxic cloud of white smoke, and as many as 40,000 people were evacuated Wednesday. Railroad inspectors said the derailment was caused by an expansion that warped a rail five inches out of line during 90-degree temperatures. Residents have filed class-action lawsuits totaling $450 million in state and federal courts in connection with the accident.

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