Derailed freight train bursts into flames in southwest Indiana

SHARE Derailed freight train bursts into flames in southwest Indiana

Law enforcement said two of the cars were carrying french fries and those are creating most of the smoke from the remaining two fires burning. | Denny Simmons/Evansville Courier & Press via AP

PRINCETON, Ind. — A freight train derailed in southwestern Indiana and several train cars caught fire, forcing the evacuation of nearby homes while authorities monitored air quality Monday, officials said.

The train derailed Sunday evening near a trailer park in Princeton, about 150 miles southwest of Indianapolis, the Gibson County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

No one was injured in the derailment, Indiana State Police spokesman Sgt. Curt Durnil said at a news conference Monday. Twenty-three freight train cars left the tracks. Rail operator CSX said in a statement that the cause was under investigation.

The evacuation was lifted and roads that had been closed, including U.S. 41, were reopened Monday afternoon, the sheriff’s office said.

Several people called 911 to report the derailment and an explosion.

Parts of the train remained on fire Monday. Princeton fire Chief Mike Pflug told the Evansville Courier & Press that he was OK with a plan to let the fires burn themselves out.

CSX said preliminary reports show one of the cars leaked propane.

Durnil said five of the cars contained propane, and Pflug said smoke from burning propane presents no threat to humans. Durnil said most of the smoke was coming from burning cars loaded with french fries.

“The french fries are what are causing the problem right now,” he said.

First responders on Sunday went door-to-door to evacuate people living within a 1-mile radius of the derailment. Durnil said the state fire marshal’s office and CSX are monitoring air quality.

CSX planned to move some of the cars to allow better access to the parts of the train still on fire, Durnil said.

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