[QODLink]
Europe

Belgium train derailment sparks fire

At least two dead and 14 injured after train carrying chemicals derails near city of Ghent causing massive blaze.

Last Modified: 04 May 2013 16:46
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
A freight train exploded on a track near Schellebelle prompting the evacuation of 300 people [AFP]

At least two people have died and 14 others have been injured when a train carrying chemicals derailed in Belgium, causing a major fire near the city of Ghent, a local government official has said.

Jan Briers, governor of eastern Flanders, gave the death toll to the Belga news agency on Saturday after the accident and blaze prompted authorities to evacuate nearly 300 people from their homes.

The accident happened around 2:00am local time (0000 GMT) between the towns of  Schellebelle and Wetteren, said Infrabel, the entity responsible for the Belgian railway network.

Six of the train's 13 cars derailed and two were on their side. The blaze led to a series of explosions in the railway cars, then a  spectacular strip of fire spread over hundreds of metres prompting authorities to evacuate residents living near the site of the accident.

Firemen decided to let the cars burn out in a controlled manner as water could have released toxic chemicals.

The blaze was under control by late morning but residents were told to keep their doors and windows closed.

The causes of the accident remained unclear. The cars derailed as the train changed tracks and observers said it might have been travelling too fast.

The train came from the Netherlands and was bound for Gent-Zeehaven, the city's seaport.

Train services between Schellebelle and Wetteren were disrupted and problems were expected for two days, with buses laid on to transport passengers.

Two similar accidents involving goods trains carrying tanks of toxic products occurred in Belgium in May last year.

256

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps have been released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.