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Three trains collide in Indiana, setting off fire

Three trains collide in rural Indiana on Friday, creating concerns over hazardous materials. Msnbc.com's Al Stirrett reports.

 

Three freight trains, one of them carrying ethanol, were involved in an accident Friday afternoon in Porter County, Ind., officials said.

One westbound train was stopped on the tracks in a remote stretch of Porter County between Washington and Jackson townships when a second train rear-ended it. An eastbound train on a parallel track collided with the debris from the original collision, explained Sgt. Larry LaFlower with the Porter County Sheriff's Department.

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The trains were owned by CSX Transportation. The company said the cars were carrying a "wide variety of freight," including three rail cars of flammable products.

"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," said CSX spokeswoman Carla Groleau. "An investigation to determine what happened is also under way."

Two people from the second train were transported to Porter Hospital in Valparaiso with non-life threatening injuries.

Black, billowing smoke could be seen up to 10 miles away from the accident site, near county roads 550 East and 600 North.

Police shut down several roads in the area and all homes within one mile of the accident scene -- about 100 people -- were evacuated.

Crews said they're concerned about hazardous materials on the train and are working to figure out how to contain the fire.

"They're treating the area right now because they're not sure what they have," said Porter County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Lynn Williams.

The accident was reported at about 1:30 p.m., with police and fire officials, as well as Porter County Emergency Management and hazardous material officials responding. Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board were on the scene by 4:45 p.m.

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