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Locomotives Derail, Catch Fire In Sewickley

A Norfolk Southern train carrying empty ethanol tank cars rear-ended a westbound intermodal train Wednesday afternoon in Sewickley, causing a fire and prompting the precautionary evacuation of nearby residents.

Two crew members were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, according to Alvin Henderson, Allegheny County chief of emergency services. Two firefighters were also treated at the scene for heat exhaustion.

One of the train engines derailed and started a fire that was quickly extinguished, said John Poister of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Crews evacuated an area along the rail line from Ferry Street in Sewickley to Hazel Lane in Edgeworth. The area included one water treatment plant.

Poister said the evacuation area is mainly commercial.

“We don’t know how many people were evacuated,” he said, “but it is a commercial area primarily. There are very few residents in that zone.”

The railroad has retaken control of the line and emergency crews have left, authorities said.  A small amount of diesel fuel did leak, but Poister said there is no risk of soil contamination.