National Transportation Safety Board Investigating North Columbus Train Derailment

UPDATED: Wednesday July 11, 2012 11:28 AM

The National Transportation Safety Board said that a 10-member crew would be launched to investigate a north side train crash on Wednesday.

Fire officials said that at least two people were injured in an explosion caused by a derailed Norfolk Southern freight train.

Fields Avenue, near 5th and 11th avenues, was shut down because of the derailment of 11 of 98 cars that were carrying chemicals like denatured alcohol and Styrene, a chemical used to make plastic, shortly before 2 a.m. Officials said that the car carrying Styrene was not punctured during the derailment.

Fire officials said that when the train derailed, the victims ran to the scene and were injured when the explosion occurred. The victims transported themselves for medical attention with minor injuries. The conductor of the train escaped the derailment uninjured.

Fire officials called for air support to figure out what was burning before fire crews attacked from the ground. Hazardous materials crews also were called to the scene but said that there was no risk for air contamination.

Law enforcement officials encouraged those within a half mile radius of the blaze to evacuate. Residents in the Weinland Park area were also asked to evacuate.

The western evacuation boundary was extended to Sixth Street, the eastern to Fields Avenue, north to 11th Street and the southern evacuation boundary was extended as far as Fifth Street.

The American Red Cross established a shelter at the Rhodes Center, located on the Ohio Expo Center grounds where they provided cots, blankets and food for those impacted. Officials said that a nurse would be on hand to help those in need and that pets were welcome at the shelter.

Employees of the Comp Drug Center said that they would also be at the emergency shelter.

COTA officials said that employees were being moved from Fields Avenue to their McKinley Avenue location, with plans to keep busses moving on a Sunday schedule.

Officials from Rumpke Waste Removal and Recycling Inc. said that service would be delayed for residents in Franklin, Delaware and Union counties today because of the train derailment. They had to evacuate employees from their Fields Avenue facility.

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