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Relief for town 31 years after explosion

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LIVINGSTON - Mayor Derral Jones signed on the dotted line Monday night, setting plans for the final step of a remediation process, that began more than 30 years ago. Jones signed a contract, giving permission for a chemical neutralizer to be placed in the ground, where a train carrying hazardous material blew up, in September 1982.

Jones said the only chemical that remains in the ground, was used in dry cleaning and is known to cause cancer.

"I guess we'll call it the beginning of the end," he said. "So we're pretty excited about that."

Over 30 years ago, about 2700 people were evacuated after a mile-long train derailed. The explosion blew over homes and set fire for days. Livingston residents says they remember the explosion like it was yesterday.

"I opened the curtains, and the whole sky was lit up," said Wayne's BBQ owner Wayne Henderson. "It was horrible. Trains laid across the train, flaming, it was a horrible sight."

The final phase will begin in about two months and will take about a year to completely neutralize. Once the site is tested clean, Jones hopes to turn the land into a park.

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