An empty Norfolk Southern train crashed into the back of a westbound freight train off Chadwick Street in Sewickley just before 2 p.m. Wednesday, sending plumes of thick, black smoke skyward and rattling nearby businesses and homes, reports The Pittsburgh Tribune.
Three train engines derailed and caught fire, said Alvin Henderson, chief of emergency services for Allegheny County.
One engine is on its side. The fire has been extinguished. The freight train was pulling 56 cars, said Susan Terpay, a Norfolk Southern spokeswoman. One of the cars derailed. Some of the cars contained residue from carrying ethanol, which is flammable.
A small amount of fuel that spilled from the engines did not spread beyond the tracks.
The accident didn’t pose any serious environmental dangers, said John Poister, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection.
“There was concern that if the fire got any stronger, the empty ethanol containers might be in danger, but the fire was extinguished quickly,” Poister said.
Norfolk Southern was sending an environmental cleanup crew to the site, Poister said.
“It could obviously have been a lot worse,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said.
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