Graniteville 2-year anniversary plans announced

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January 2, 2007

GRANITEVILLE, S.C.---It's been almost two years since the deadly chlorine spill in Graniteville that left nine people dead.

Church leaders are now announcing the plans for the two year anniversary of that tragic day.

Nearly 200 people attended the services for the one year anniversary last year but organizers say they fear as time goes on, so will the reminder of the devastation that changed the small town forever.

The haunting sound of trains rolling by brings back painful memories this community will never forget.

"We realize that there are a lot of families and loved ones still dealing with it," said Pastor James Abraham of Bethlehem Baptist Church.

Nearly two years have passed since the deadly chlorine spill that killed nine people and sent another 550 to the hospital.

5400 more were forced out of their homes when the chlorine gas leaked into the night.

"Something the United States doesn't need to forget, because if it can happen here, it can happen somewhere else," said Graniteville Fire Rescue Chief Phil Napier.

And the aftermath of the accident has left the small town of Graniteville reeling from the pain after suffering blow after blow.

Some neighbors' lives will never the same. Others have fallen on difficult times without a job or healthcare after the town's largest employer, Avondale Mills, finally shut their doors.

"There are a lot of problems that are still existing in our community," said anniversary organizer Louisiana Wright.

"How can you forget?" asked Chief Napier.

Church leaders and community activists are encouraging the public to attend the prayer vigil this Saturday at 6 a.m. in front of the memorial at the collision site.

Following the vigil, the remaining services will be held at the USC-Aiken campus at 11 a.m.