COLUMBUS, OH – A freight train carrying ethanol derailed and caught fire in Columbus on Wednesday, shooting flames skyward into the darkness.
About 11 cars from the southbound train derailed around 2 a.m. on interstate 71, near The Ohio State University. Three of those eleven cars were carrying ethanol. After viewing the scene in daylight, authorities decided to let the fire burn out instead of trying to extinguish it.
According to News Net 5, photographer Chris Mumma said he was more than 10 miles away in New Albany when he saw the night sky brightened by a “huge illumination” that he later learned was an explosion. He said he went to the scene to take photos and saw punctures on top of the train that were spewing flames 20 to 30 feet high. He also noticed an odd odor.
“I noticed there was a chemical smell, and I was inhaling it so I backed up a little bit more because I wasn’t sure what I was getting involved with,” he said. Mumma said it made him so nauseous that he ended up at the hospital.
Two people who ran toward the scene before the explosion were injured but were able to take themselves to a hospital, fire Battalion Chief Michael Fowler said.
Norfolk Southern said none of its workers were hurt.
-Kate Murphy / 98.5 WNCX