Train derailment in eastern Ohio causes huge fire; residents evacuated

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — A train that derailed in eastern Ohio and caught fire on Friday caused local officials to order evacuations, authorities said.

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Officials in Columbiana County were called to an area in East Palestine near the Pennsylvania border at about 9 p.m. EST, WMFJ-TV reported.

During a news conference early Saturday, East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway said anyone living within a mile of the train crossing at James Street needed to evacuate immediately, according to the television station. Other residents were urged to stay at home and off the roads until the fire was extinguished. The mayor added that evacuation orders remained in place “until further notice.”

Fire departments from Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia assisted at the site, WPXI-TV reported.

Conaway said there were no fatalities, according to WKBN-TV. More than 50 rail cars were involved, the mayor said.

“The train crew was fine,” he said.

Single-digit weather made the response difficult as water pumped by fire trucks froze, Conaway said.

It was unclear what the Norfolk Southern train was carrying at the time of the accident, WFMJ reported. There was no immediate information about what caused the derailment, according to The Associated Press.

A spokesperson for the Norfolk Southern railroad told WPXI the company was aware of the derailment and was coordinating closely with first responders. The company said it will release more information as it becomes available.

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