Pictured: US freight train derails causing huge fire
A derailed freight train sparked a massive fire and triggered the release of small amounts of vinyl chloride, a hazardous chemical, in the midwestern US on Saturday.
No injuries or fatalities were reported after around 50 cars of the 140-car train came off the tracks on Friday near the Ohio-Pennsylvania state border.
Several explosions were heard as the cars continued to burn on Saturday. "It's an active fire scene," Michael Graham, a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) member said.
The Norfolk Southern train was shipping cargo from Madison, Illinois, to Conway, Pennsylvania, when it derailed in East Palestine, Ohio.
Ten of the cars that derailed carried hazardous materials, including five with vinyl chloride, the NTSB, the lead federal investigating agency, said in a tweet on Saturday.
Vinyl chloride, a colorless gas, is deemed carcinogenic by the US National Cancer Institute. It is used to make the white plastic PVC pipes commonly used in plumbing.
"We have not confirmed that vinyl chloride has been released other than from the pressure release devices" installed on some cars, the NTSB tweet said.
The devices relieve a buildup of pressure in the tanker cars to prevent explosions.
Low temperatures hampered the effort, as fire trucks pumping water froze up.
Roughly 2,000 residents - about half of the town's population - were asked by authorities to evacuate their homes.