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Hundreds evacuated after train carrying chemicals derails, catches fire in Belgium

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GHENT, Belgium: A train carrying chemicals derailed and caught on fire in the northwestern city of Ghent, Belgium, causing nearly 300 people to be evacuated from their homes, local authorities said.

No one was reportedly seriously injured in the subsequent explosions after the train, which was coming from the Netherlands and was heading to the city’s seaport – Ghent-Zeehaven, came off tracks.

The incident happened around 2:00am local time (24:00 GMT), causing a major fire. Five people were hospitalized, none with critical injuries. A total of six carriages derailed: two were on their side and three were on fire.

The blaze has been contained, but firefighters said that they might wait until the fire goes out by itself because extinguishing it might be dangerous due to burning chemicals emitting poisonous gas. The blazing carriages contained acrylonitrile, a toxic, but no explosive substances. There is no danger to the public at this point.

After the train caught fire, a series of explosions rocked the train cars, prompting authorities to evacuate residents living nearby and disrupting the railway service in the area for at least two days, DH newspaper quoted governor of East Flanders Jan Briers as saying.

Asad Haroon
A netpreneur, blogger and above all; A Human 🙂 Asad tweets from @aghaasadharoon and can also be approached on Google+

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