A train derailment in Columbus, Ohio, early Wednesday morning set off an explosion that could be seen 10 miles away and led to the evacuation of anyone within a mile of the derailment.
Eleven cars of a Norfolk Southern train containing two locomotives and 98 freight cars of mixed freight derailed between E. 11th Street and E. 5th Avenue in Columbus around 2:05 a.m. Wednesday, officials told NBC 4 Columbus.
Nobody was hurt in the train derailment, the Associated Press reported.
But two people who were near the train when it derailed were injured and drove themselves to the hospital, according to NBC 4 Columbus.
The area of the derailment was described as an industrial zone by the Associated Press, north of downtown Columbus near Interstate 71.
Hazardous materials crews were investigating what was burning, according to the Associated Press, aside from ethanol that was being carried on some of the cars of the derailed train.
The train derailment prompted an evacuation of anyone within one mile of the accident, which produced fireballs that could be seen 10 miles away.
I saw flames, then I heard a loud sound, like a boom, and saw the flames shooting higher, said witness John Priester, who lives two blocks away from where the Norfolk Southern train derailed. It looked like the sun exploded.
The evacuation zone is bounded by E. 11th Avenue to the south; E. 5th Avenue to the north; N. Grant Avenue to the east; and Field Avenue to the West.
Chris Mumma, a photographer who lives 10 miles away in New Albany, also witnessed the explosion, which he said was accompanied by a distinct smell.
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, noting that he became nauseous and went to the hospital.
The American Red Cross set up a site for those evacuated due to the train derailment near the Ohio State Fairgrounds.
Linda Ogletree was one of roughly 50 evacuees at the Red Cross site, according to the AP. Ogletree lives a block away from the train derailment and described what she witnessed.
I was in the house and heard the explosion, then I ran outside to see where it was coming from. The whole outside was lit up, she said.