INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - Three CSX freight trains collided and derailed on Friday in a rural area of northwestern Indiana, injuring two train crew and causing evacuations of local residents on concern about hazardous materials, the railroad and local officials said.
The trains crashed about 11 miles northeast of Valparaiso at about 2:15 p.m., according to David James, assistant highway supervisor with the Porter County Highway Department.
James said one train rear-ended another one, causing it to jack-knife, and a third passing train the “got caught in that jack-knife.” All the trains derailed.
Two train crew members suffered non-life threatening injuries and were taken to a local hospital, CSX said in a statement. All crew members have been accounted for.
About 100 to 200 residents evacuated from the area north and east of the crash, James said.
“We have blocked off all the roads and we’re asking people to stay away from the scene,” James said.
CSX said the trains carried a wide variety of freight including 3 rail cars of flammable products. There were also a number of empty hazardous materials cars, the railroad said.
“No significant leaks or spills of hazardous materials appear to have occurred but inspections of all loaded and empty hazardous materials cars are under way,” CSX said, adding that the number of derailed cars and cause of the crash were still unclear,
James said there had been a fire concern since one of the trains was reported to be carrying ethanol fuel, but the tanks turned out to be empty. Diesel fuel from an engine had burnt immediately after the crash.
Writing by Mary Wisniewski; Additional reporting by Susan Guyett; Editing by Peter Bohan