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The Times, John J. Watkins) MANDATORY CREDIT; CHICAGO LOCALS OUT; GARY OUT, Associated Press
The scene of a freight train collision and derailment is seen, Friday, Jan. 6, 2012 near 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.

VALPARAISO, Ind. — An official says dozens of people forced to leave their homes after a three trains derailed in northwest Indiana have been cleared to return home.

Officials had evacuated 50 to 150 homes within about a mile of the crash site near Valparaiso after some of the trains caught fire Friday, raising fears of a possible chemical spill.

Authorities say one of the trains was pulling ethanol tankers, but those were mostly empty.

Porter County Emergency Management Director Phil Griffith said authorities were allowing people back in their homes early Friday night.