Train catches fire after derailing in Hays

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HAYS, Kansas – Railroad officials say a train derailment in Hays occurred when a freight train hit a standing train, causing a fire but no serious injuries.

Hays Emergency Management Director Terry McCue says at least 12 rail cars derailed in the city early Tuesday.

Three locomotives and 79 cars were part of the westbound train, which was carrying low-grade ethanol and general freight such as steel, wheat, beer and particle board. The 20 tankers carrying low-grade ethanol did not derail.

McCue says a fire started after the derailment about 1:20 a.m., but it was confined to the locomotives.  Fire crews were spraying about 5,000 gallons of water on the fire per minute.  The other derailed cars carried freight and cargo.

Union Pacific Railroad spokesman Mark Davis said all three crew members of the Salina-to-Denver freight train escaped injuries.

A mobile home park near the derailment was evacuated as a precaution.  At least 15 to 20 people took shelter at Holy Family Elementary, but they were allowed to return home.

Officials are still trying to determine how the train derailed.

Hays, Ellis and Victoria Fire Departments were called to help fight the flames.


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