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Ohio freight train carrying chemicals explodes

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In Columbus, Ohio, a freight train carrying chemicals derailed and exploded in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

Norfolk Southern says that about 11 cars derailed around 2 a.m. near Interstate 71, southeast of the Ohio State University campus, The Associated Press reports. The cars derailed just blocks from residential areas.

It is not clear what caused the accident or exactly how many cars caught fire. Three of the cars were carrying ethanol, said Chief David Whiting of the Columbus Fire Department, but authorities did not immediately disclose what the other cars were transporting.

Authorities allowed the fire the burn out instead of trying to extinguish it.

Norfolk Southern said no workers were hurt.

“I noticed there was a chemical smell, and I was inhaling it so I backed up a bit more because I wasn’t sure what I was getting involved with,” photographer Chris Mumma told the AP.

Mumma was later sent to the hospital for nausea due to exposure to the chemical odors.

Joel Priester witnessed the flames from his home two blocks away.

“I saw flames, then I heard a loud sound, like a boom, and saw the flames shooting higher,” he said. “It looked like the sun exploded.”

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