Train carrying fuel oil derails, spills in Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:35pm EST

JACKSON, Miss. Jan 31 (Reuters) - A Canadian National Railway Co train carrying fuel oil and other hazardous materials derailed and was leaking in southeast Mississippi on Friday morning, forcing the evacuation of nearby residents, officials said.

No one was injured in the incident which involved the derailment of 18 railcars, some of which were carrying methanol, a Canadian National Railway spokesman said. It was unclear if other materials were involved.

The accident occurred in the city limits of New Augusta in Perry County, near a mobile home park, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).

"It's not a huge city but there are a good number of folks in that area. So far they don't have a good number on how many to evacuate yet," a MEMA spokesman said, adding that he had heard reports of leaking fluids at the nearby Highway 98.

Emergency services were on the scene and responding to the accident, local officials said.

The accident follows a string of derailments of trains carrying crude oil over the past year, raising questions about the safety of certain older tank cars.

Federal regulators have been studying railcar design and other issues after the string of explosive derailments, including one last month when a 106-car BNSF Railway Co train carrying crude east crashed into a derailed westbound BNSF grain train near Casselton, North Dakota.

Last July, a runaway oil train derailed and exploded in the center of the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic, killing 47 people.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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