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UPDATE 2-Freight trains collide in Oklahoma, three crew missing
By Steve Olafson
OKLAHOMA CITY, June 24 (Reuters) - Two freight trains collided head-on and exploded into flames on Sunday in Oklahoma, sending billowing black smoke into the air and leaving three Union Pacific employees missing and possibly dead, authorities said.
There was no explanation yet on why the two trains were traveling toward one another on the same track about a mile (1.6 km) east of the panhandle town of Goodwell, in an unpopulated area near the Texas state line.
About 50 volunteer firefighters from five nearby towns had been fighting the fire, which engulfed three locomotives and about 10 rail-cars, since the morning collision but had not been able to extinguish the flames by late afternoon.
"The diesel fuel in those engines just doesn't want to go out, and the rail cars are all tightly packed," said Harold Tyson, emergency management director of Texas County, Oklahoma.
One Union Pacific employee escaped injury but three others were missing and possibly dead, Tyson said. A Union Pacific spokeswoman confirmed three crew were reported missing.
Both trains were pulling long lines of rail-cars, with the northbound train packed with automobiles and the southbound train transporting containers, he said.
One of the containers, not on fire, held resin solution, and water was being poured on that container as a precautionary measure, said Raquel Espinoza, a Union Pacific spokeswoman.
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