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Devastation as freight train derails and explodes in crash

A freight train crashed into a trash truck, derailed and caught fire in a Baltimore suburb in the US, setting off an explosion that rattled homes at least a half-mile away and sent a plume of smoke into the air that could be seen for miles.

In the third serious derailment this month, the dozen or so rail cars, at least one carrying hazardous material, went off the tracks at about 2pm in Rosedale, a suburb east of Baltimore. A hazardous materials team responded, but Baltimore County boss Kevin Kamenetz said no toxic inhalants were being released. Officials did not order an evacuation.

By nightfall, the hazmat team had left, meaning there was no more danger posed from the chemicals in the rail car, said Baltimore County police captain Bruce Schultz.

The truck driver, 50-year-old John J Alban Jr, was in serious condition last night. Two rail workers aboard weren't hurt.

BLAST

DALE WALSTON SAID HE LIVES ABOUT A HALF-MILE AWAY AND THAT HE THOUGHT HE COULD SMELL CHEMICALS. "IT SHOOK MY HOUSE PRETTY VIOLENTLY AND KNOCKED THINGS OFF THE SHELVES," HE SAID.

Even hours after the blast, the thick plume of black smoke could be seen for miles and had drifted and covered the eastern part of Baltimore. Later, the smoke that was left had lightened considerably, changing from black to gray, though the fire wasn't yet extinguished as of 9pm. CSX spokesman Gary Sease said one of the cars was carrying sodium chlorate, which the Department of Transportation classifies as a hazardous material. However, Baltimore Fire Chief John Hohman said the chemical was not in any of the cars.

hnews@herald.ie


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