Belgian Train Fire – 2 Killed, Several Injured

Belgium Crash

Two person died and 17 others were injured on Saturday when a train carrying highly toxic chemicals derailed in Belgium, causing a major fire near the city of Ghent, local officials said.

Jan Briers, governor of eastern Flanders, had earlier said there were two dead and 14 injured, but late Saturday authorities announced that 17 injured people have been hospitalised and officials were investigating the cause of one fatality.

The accident and blaze also prompted authorities to evacuate nearly 300 people from their homes.

The victims were people living well away from the scene of the accident, and Interior Minister Joelle Milquet blamed toxic fumes from the highly flammable liquid chemicals.

The accident happened around 2:00 am (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 within 500 metres of the site of the accident.

Two similar accidents involving trains carrying tanks of toxic products occurred in Belgium in May 2012.

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