Huge blaze as Russian fuel tanks derail, thousands flee (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
Over 50 rail cars of a 71-car-long cargo train derailed at the Belaya Kalitva station in Russia’s Rostov region at around 2 am local time.
Up to 10 cars have caught fire as a result of the accident, and heavy smoke is reported at the scene. The fire had been localized at around 6 am local time.
“As a result of the accident, one of the cars with diesel fuel tank started the fire, engulfing an area of 1.5 thousand square meters,” Interfax quoted the local Emergencies Ministry representative.
At least 44 people were admitted to the hospital with injuries and burns. Seventeen of them including the locomotive driver have been hospitalized, one in critical condition.
The official representative of the North Caucasian railway Evgeny Boevets told Interfax that during the derailment one of the cars released propane gas, enabling the flames spread to the locomotive.
"According to preliminary information, there was no explosion, instead, the tank caught fire," said the source.
Despite the leakage of toxic methylene chloride, the concentration of toxic chemicals is not life-threatening, RIA Novosti quoted local authorities as saying.
At least 2,700 people have been evacuated from the area around the crash site and moved to temporary shelter in the local community center. Nearby houses were severely damaged in the blast, with most windows in the area shattered by the shockwave.
Over 190 emergency workers and 48 pieces of equipment were at
the scene battling the fire. It will take at least two days to
clean up the area after the incident, local authorities