Ohio Train Derailment: 'Like Sun Exploded'

It could have been much worse, Columbus mayor says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2012 12:07 AM CDT
People watch flames shoot up from the derailed freight train early yesterday morning.   (AP Photo/Andrew Spear)
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(Newser) – Life imitating Super 8? National Transportation Safety Board investigators are probing a train derailment that caused a fire and several spectacular explosions in Columbus, Ohio, early yesterday morning, the AP reports. Sixteen of the train's 98 cars, including three carrying 30,000 gallons of ethanol each, came off the tracks in an industrial area around 2am, but nobody on board the train was injured. Two people walking toward the first explosion received minor injuries from a second blast, and around 100 people in the area were evacuated from their homes.

"I saw flames, then I heard a loud sound, like a boom, and saw the flames shooting higher," one witness said. "It looked like the sun exploded." Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, who visited a Red Cross shelter for evacuees, said the accident could have been much worse. "I'm grateful, in one respect as well, that this did not occur in a more populated area near more residents," he said. "It very well could have. A mile up or a mile south. North or south, east or west. It could have been tragic in other ways as well."

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