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Ohio train derailment causes causes fire, home evacuations

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (AP) — A train derailed in an Ohio town near the Pennsylvania border and caused a large fire followed by orders for area residents to evacuate their homes Friday night, reports said.

A post on the East Palestine, Ohio, city Facebook page around 11 p.m. said an evacuation order had been issued for an area 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) from the James Street crossing, with shelter available at East Palestine High School.

A previous post by the city shortly before 10 p.m. told residents in the area to shelter in place.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

KDKA-TV reported the cause of the derailment and the train’s cargo were not immediately known.

The station’s Twitter page showed video of police driving along a street and using a loudspeaker to ask residents to evacuate. The station said several fire departments were at the scene where flames and smoke could be seen glowing orange from a distance.

The fire had sent so much smoke into the atmosphere that it was visible on KDKA-TV’s weather radar, the station’s meteorologist said in a Twitter post

Northfolk Southern Railway released a statement saying the company was aware of the derailment and was “coordinating closely with local first responders while mobilizing our own teams. We will share more details as they become available,” KDKA-TV reported.

East Palestine is about 51 miles (82 kilometers) northwest of Pittsburgh.

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