First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

Triple Train Wreck Burning in Indiana

Reportedly Tank Cars Involved

Updated, scroll down:

THREE FREIGHT TRAINS ALL TRAVELING IN THE SAME DIRECTION, collided Friday afternoon in northern Indiana, setting off a fire in some cars that could be seen ten miles away, according to some reports.

The wreck occurred shortly after 1 pm when a westbound train that was at a standstill was rear-ended by another westbound freight.  As they were derailing and sending debris flying, the unfolding collision knocked into a third westbound train running on a parallel track.

Chicago Tribune

NBC News has filed this raw video taken from their helicopter after the main body of the fire burned out:


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The train was hauling several tank cars of ethanol but firefighters did not know initially if they were involved in the fire.  The fire does not appear to have affected any tankers judging from the amount of fire in the wreckage.  Some reports has said that some chemical spill has occurred, but it is all unconfirmed as the fire is still burning in the train at the time of this posting.

The location of the wreck is in an isolated area of Porter County and there are no buildings nearby that could be endangered.  Two railroad workers were slightly injured and transported but are expected to be ok.

The Chicago Tribune is filing reports HERE.

ChicagoAreaFire has one of their ace photographers en route to the crash scene now.  Later on CHECK HERE to get the updates on the situation and view the photo gallery when it's posted.

The CSX locomotives appear to have been substantially burned.
(NBC News photo)

It has been determined that the ethanol tankers were empty, but there was an unidentified liquid leaking from a tank car in one of the three trains.

The two trainmen in the locomotive of the train that rear-ended the other one were the two injuries.  They are still in the hospital but have been classed as non-life threatening.  The four trainmen from the other two trains were uninjured.

The Chicago Sun-Times adds:

The first train had 77 cars and two engines; the second train contained 60 cars and two engines; and the third train had 48 cars and three engines.

Porter County Emergency Management responder Jim Sherrick said the fire was due to diesel fuel on the trains. Sherrick, who lives about a half mile from the collision, rushed to the scene after hearing it on his police scanner. He described the scene as a lot of mangled train cars, stacked upon each other.

Emergency personnel were hampered by their inability to reach the fire, which poured thick, black smoke and flames hundreds of feet into the air. The heart of the fire is between two large open fields with no ready access. Since the area doesn’t have hydrant access, tankers from every fire department in the county were regularly going in and out of the area.

Read the full updated report in the Sun-Times HERE.

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