UPDATE 2:28 p.m. EST: Police have given an all clear.

UPDATE 2:14 p.m. EST: According to the FBI, the suspicious device turned out to be a package of marijuana. The train carrying the package was coming from Mexico, the bureau said.

UPDATE 1:50 p.m. EST: The FBI's Birmingham office says the suspicious device found on a rail car near the Daikin plant in Decatur, Ala., isn't an explosive, WHNT's Carson Clark reports. 

Original story: More than a dozen schools have been evacuated or have dismissed classes on Thursday after a suspicious device was found on a rail car in Decatur, Ala.

The Decatur Police Department told Huntsville's WAAY-TV station that the “estimated potential danger zone is 25 miles” should an explosion detonate.

"A suspicious device has been found attached to a rail car at the Daikin facility on Hwy 20 in Decatur. The rail car contains hazardous material,” police said. Daikin is a chemical plant owned by Japan's Daikin Industries Ltd.

The suspicious device was found attached to a rail car around 8 a.m. Thursday local time, Huntsville's WHNT-TV station reported. The station said the following schools in the Decatur area have been evacuated or have had classes dismissed:

  • Blue Springs Elementary – not dismissing, evacuating students to Cedar Hill Elementary
  • Calhoun Community College – Decatur campus and the Alabama Center for the Arts – Closing at 10 a.m. – students, staff, and faculty have been instructed to leave immediately and travel away from the Decatur area. Classes and work will resume as soon as school receives notification and the alert is lifted.
  • Clements High School – not dismissing, but evacuating students to Ardmore High School
  • East Lawrence High, Middle and Elementary – dismissing immediately (10:40 a.m.) – parents have until 11 a.m. to pick up students. After that, students will be taken by bus to the Moulton Civic Center.
  • Julian Harris – dismissing immediately
  • Leon Sheffield - dismissing immediately
  • Benjamin Davis - dismissing immediately
  • Tanner High School – not dismissing, but evacuating students to Ardmore High School
  • Woodmeade - dismissing immediately
  • West Decatur - dismissing immediately
  • West Morgan High, Middle and Elementary – dismissed at 10:30 a.m.  Any students who didn’t get picked up will be bused to the Danville High School gymnasium. Any students who were bused home, whose families weren’t there, were taken to Danville High School as well.


Any school not on the list has “a liberal check-out policy,” the station said.

A number of agencies are investigating the incident, including the Decatur police and fire departments, the Huntsville Bomb Squad and the FBI.