UPDATED | June 28, 2016 6:15 PM
Fire crews are still pouring water on the flaming wreckage of two freight trains that collided head-on while using the same track in the Texas Panhandle.
Sgt. Dan Buesing of the Texas Department of Public Safety says the flames from the burning diesel fuel of the two smashed locomotives are beginning to subside but that crews won’t be able to search the wreckage for three missing crew members until the flames are extinguished.
A voluntary evacuation and shelter-in-place directive remains in effect for some areas downwind of the fire, but Buesing says air quality samples near the fire have tested safe.
Buesing says the fourth crew member who was able to jump clear of one of the trains has injuries that are not life threatening. He is in stable condition at an Amarillo hospital. His identity wasn’t available.
AMARILLO (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Several box cars have derailed and are engulfed in flames after two freight trains collided in the Texas Panhandle.
Texas Department of Public Safety Lieutenant Bryan Witt says the accident happened Tuesday morning near the town of Panhandle, about 25 miles northeast of Amarillo.
Shortly before 2:00 pm. Tuesday, BNSF said it is bringing in its own firefighters to use a chemical agent to suppress the fire.
Officials say this is not a hazardous situation, but water is not going to put out this fire.
BNSF firefighters are going to let the fire die down a little bit more and then use a foam-type spray to try and control the fire.
Images provided by CBS television affiliate KFDA show thick, black smoke billowing from a jumble of some two-dozen box cars strewn along the tracks.
Billy Brown, a farmer who lives in the area, says he saw a fireball erupt after the collision occurred. Other witnesses said they first heard a screeching noise and then the ground shook after the explosion.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway spokesman Joe Faust confirmed two BNSF freight trains were involved in the collision about 8:40 a.m. and that four employees were “involved in the incident.”
According to KFDA, at least one person, a BNSF employee, was taken to Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo with non-life threatening injuries. BNSF said “rescue efforts” were underway in regards to the three other railroad employees.
Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said they are sending a team of six people to investigate the train crash.
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