Monday, February 7, 2011

Freight Train Crash Causes Huge Fireball

Homes Evacuated after Derailment
Shipping News Feature

US - A freight train carrying hundreds of thousands of gallons of flammable chemicals derailed yesterday morning in a rural area south of Toledo, Ohio causing a massive explosion and a fire which was still burning last night. The Norfolk Southern train was travelling from Chicago to North Carolina with around sixty rail cars and the cargo was believed to include several tanks of ethanol, eight of which exploded, pouring liquid fire over a large area.

The situation was compounded by chemicals escaping into a nearby water source and staff from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were deployed to soak up the toxins from the water and monitor air quality and twenty or so houses in the area had to be evacuated and residents were given refuge in a nearby church. The fireball from the initial explosion rose thousands of feet into the air and sightings were reported from over twenty miles away.

Thirty or so rail cars were not derailed and these were removed as quickly as possible whilst the fire service allowed the fire to die down before moving in to fight it. One of the principal worries for the fire service was the proximity of a large store of fertilizers near the crash site and a two mile safety perimeter was established around the burning wagons.