TONAWANDA - This industrial town north of Buffalo, New York faced an event the citizens thought would never occur: A collision between Bobby's Lionel diesel locomotive and Mikey's American Flyer steam locomotive caused the evacuation of an entire neighborhood.
On a quiet, utterly ordinary Sunday afternoon, the collision interrupted the planned activities of hundreds of families. Fortunately, the Tonawanda Volunteer Fire Department had been planning for years for such an event.
Immediately after the high speed collision, which violated the Maximum Authorized Speeds of both train lines, Bobby's model 242A and Mikey's model 243B transformers started to smolder, then spark, and finally burst into flames. Unbeknownst to their parents, the tank cars of both train lines had been loaded with hazardous chemicals from the boys' chemistry sets.
The resulting cloud enveloped the homes of first Bobby, and then Mikey.
When the fire trucks arrived on the scene, Fire Chief Rhino Cohen ordered the evacuation of the entire neighborhood. "We saw the cloud, and recognized the acrid smell, and decided not to take any chances," Chief Cohen said. "We also had to face the possibility of an Arab terrorist attack." He then added, "Luckily it was only two white kids who were playing and got carried away. We should have everything back to normal in another hour."
A neighbor half of the way down the block said, "I was sure it was Arab terrorists. President Bush said this is why we're in Iraq. I wonder where those kids learned to make a smoke bomb like this. Maybe it was on one of those Arab websites I hear about from Rush Limbaugh." Another neighbor replied, "I don't think anyone is interested enough to bother with this dying steel town."
Bobby's father said, "I'm not going to take away his Lionel train, but that chemistry set is definitely going in the trash." Mikey's father said, "That's what I get for letting him have a train and a chemistry set. I told his mother I wanted to take him hunting this weekend. He should be learning to aim a rifle instead of playing with those childish things. I knew this would happen when we separated."