3 freight trains derail after Indiana collision

By Tom Coyne

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Jan. 6 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

Emergency crews arrive at the scene of a train collision and derailment, Friday, Jan. 6, 2012 in Valparaiso, Ind. Officials say three freight trains have derailed after a collision in northwest Indiana and multiple tanker cars are burning. Porter County Emergency Management Director Phil Griffith says no injuries have been reported at the scene and all train personnel are accounted for after the accident about 1:45 p.m. Friday near Valparaiso.

The LaPorte Herald-Argus, Bob Wellinski, Associated Press

VALPARAISO, Ind. — Three freight trains derailed after a collision in northwest Indiana, officials said Friday, leaving several mangled train cars on their sides along the tracks and black smoke billowing from burning tankers.

No injuries were reported and all train personnel were accounted for at the scene of the accident that happened about 1:45 p.m. Friday near Valparaiso, Porter County Emergency Management Director Phil Griffith said.

Hazardous materials teams were on the scene to evaluate whether there were any spills from the tankers and a handful of homes within a half-mile of the crash were evacuated as a precaution.

Griffith said the derailment started when one train hit another, which then derailed into an adjacent track.

"One train rear-ended another that was sitting next to a third," he said.

Heavy smoke poured through nearby woods and blanketed a farm nearby more than three hours after the accident, as firefighters and hazardous materials responders swarmed around the tracks.

Associated Press writer Charles Wilson in Indianapolis contributed to this report.

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