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Investigators Hope To Determine Cause Of Baltimore County Train Derailment

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The train's explosion produced a plume of smoke that was visible from miles away.
Photo by Twitter user KRL224
The train's explosion produced a plume of smoke that was visible from miles away.

Fire officials in Maryland say the blaze at the derailed chemical-carrying train that derailed outside of Baltimore is under control. Rail service in the state is not being affected this morning.

Residents a mile away from the accident in Rosedale just north of Baltimore described a loud boom similar to an earthquake when the derailment occurred on Tuesday afternoon. Investigators are unsure at this time, but they say a string of CSX trains running alongside Route 7 may have hit a dump truck and derailed, causing part of the cargo to explode. Only one injury was reported—John J. Alban Jr., 50, the driver of the dump truck.

There are no homes in the area, but many businesses were damaged. For most of the afternoon and night a large black plume of smoke billowed from the accident site.

"[I was] very worried breathing it in. I think those are dangerous chemicals and I'm just trying to figure out what's going on," said Rosedale resident Tom Brown.

Officials and first responders were quick to note that although the burning chemicals could be hazardous if touched, the two chemicals onboard the burning cars producing the black smoke were not considered toxic inhalants.

"One is terephthalic acid, which is a chemical which is used for polyester coatings and plastic bottles, and the other is florocid acid, a compound used in the solution that we brush out teeth with," said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

A voluntary evacuation was called for the immediate area. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board will be on the scene of the accident this morning to gather evidence and learn the cause of the derailment.

The video below shows the aftermath of the derailment, including one of the explosions. It contains explicit language.

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