[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
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.