November 3, 2011 / 12:56 PM / 6 years ago

Freight train derails in Chicago suburb

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A fiery derailment of a freight train near the Chicago suburb of Elgin early on Thursday knocked out commuter train service as crews scrambled to control the flames, transportation officials said.

Canadian National spokesman Patrick Waldron said crews were responding to the scene.

The fire was still burning by late morning, according to Bartlett Police Sgt. Geoffrey Pretkelis, who was at the scene. Three of 22 derailed cars caught fire. No injuries were reported..

As a result of the derailment, Chicago’s commuter rail service, Metra, shut down most service on the Milwaukee West route, which runs from Elgin to downtown Chicago and serves about 11,400 passengers every weekday, said Metra spokesman Tom Miller.

Full service is not expected to be restored until at least Friday, said Miller.

Pretkelis said one of the cars that caught fire was empty, one contained scrap metal, and one contained fiberboard.

Officials said two derailed cars contained hazardous materials -- ferric sulfate in one and sodium hydroxide in another -- but they did not catch fire and nothing escaped from the cars.

“There was no concern for inhalation or a vapor cloud,” said Pretkelis, who did not know what materials were in the cars. “There was no concern for the general public.”

No one was evacuated. About 90 cars were removed from the scene south of the accident.

Reporting by Mary Wisniewski, additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Greg McCune

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