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Aerial view of the derailment that caused the 1992 benzene spill. At bottom is the Nemadji River with a tanker car in it. (1992 file / News Tribune)

20 years later, benzene spill still stings in Duluth-Superior memories

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Former Duluth Police Chief Scott Lyons was six months into his job when the "high point" of his career played out in a matter of 15 hours on June 30, 1992.


Somehow, officials in Superior and Duluth scrambled to evacuate more than 30,000 people after an early morning train derailment left the area under a vapor cloud 20 miles long and 5 miles wide. It was the Twin Ports' infamous benzene scare that took place 20 years ago today.

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