Nearby residents evacuated to avoid possible grass fire caused by smoke after two BNSF trains crash in north-west Texas on Tuesday morning
At least one person was injured when two freight trains collided head-on in a fiery crash near a small town in north-west Texas.
Boxcars erupted in flames and piled on top of each other as thick black smoke billowed high into the air.
The crash on Tuesday morning reportedly happened a couple of miles east of downtown Panhandle, a town of 2,500 people about 25 miles from Amarillo. The railroad tracks run along the southern edge of the town, close to its city hall.
KFDA local news reported that at least one person was taken to hospital in Amarillo and was in stable condition. The Amarillo Globe-News reported that traffic from a nearby highway was being diverted and residents on the east side of Panhandle were being evacuated to a school cafeteria because of a wind shift causing smoke to head towards residential areas and raising fears of a grass fire.
The trains belonged to BNSF, which operates the second-largest freight rail network in the US. It was bought by Warren Buffetts holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, in 2010.
It was not immediately clear what the freight containers were carrying. A spokesman said in a statement that the accident happened about 8.40am and four BNSF employees were involved. Local first responders and BNSF personnel were deployed to the scene. By 9.02am, one employee was transported to a local hospital and is being treated. Rescue efforts are underway at the scene with respect to the three other railroad employees involved in the incident, the statement said.
Angel Waltz, an eyewitness, told the Globe-News that she was sitting on her front porch drinking coffee when she heard screeches and saw the trains smash into each other head-on, prompting small explosions and a large ball of fire and causing the ground to shake.
It is the second crash involving BNSF in the area in under three years. In September 2013, four people were injured in a three-train collision a couple of miles east of Amarillo.