Three freight trains carrying a "wide variety of freight," including three rail cars of flammable products, were involved in an accident Friday afternoon in Porter County, Ind., officials said.
One westbound train was stopped on the tracks in a remote stretch of Porter County between Washington and Jackson townships when a second train rear-ended it. An eastbound train on a parallel track collided with the debris from the original collision, explained Sgt. Larry LaFlower with the Porter County Sheriff's Department.
A spokeswoman for CSX Transportation, which owns all three trains, said there doesn't appear to be a hazardous materials threat but said an investigation was ongoing.
"No significant leaks or spills of hazardous materials appear to have occurred but inspections of all loaded and empty hazardous materials cars are under way," said Carla Groleau. "An investigation to determine what happened is also under way."
LaFlower said each of the trains was carrying at least 70 cars. Witnesses said liquid was leaking from some tankers on at least one of them.
Two people from the second train were transported to Porter Hospital in Valparaiso with non-life threatening injuries.
Black, billowing smoke could be seen up to 10 miles away from the accident site, near county roads 550 East and 600 North.
Police shut down several roads in the area and all homes within one mile of the accident scene -- about 100 people -- were evacuated. CSX said it was working with local agencies to help those affected.
"The company’s primary focus is public safety and working closely with responders to bring this situation under control," it said.
The accident was reported at about 1:30 p.m., with police and fire officials, as well as Porter County Emergency Management and hazardous material officials responding. Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board were on the scene by 4:45 p.m.
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