WHITE MARSH, Md. (AP) — A cargo train derailed Tuesday in a Baltimore suburb and an explosion could be heard for miles, collapsing nearby buildings and setting them on fire, officials and witnesses said.
The train derailed at about 2 p.m. in White Marsh, about 10 miles northeast of Baltimore and a fire department spokeswoman said she did not know if there were any injuries. Hazmat teams were on the scene, are responding, Baltimore County Police and Fire said in a series of tweets.
Dale Walston said he lives about a half-mile away from the blast site and that the smell of chemicals is very strong.
"It shook my house pretty violently and knocked things off the shelves," he said in an email to The Associated Press.
Photos and video on TV stations showed a large plume of smoke rising from the area. At least three rail cars could be seen off the tracks.
Overhead news shots show several blackened buildings and fires burning.
A worker at a nearby Dunkin Donuts, Tawan Rai, reached by The Associated Press by phone, said he saw a fire and flames by the railroad tracks at first, then felt a thundering blast that sent smoke pouring into the sky.
"The whole building shook and there was just dust everywhere," said Rai, adding no windows broke but he was surprised by the intensity of the blast. "I went outside and people were rushing there, the police officers, fire trucks."
He also said he saw some ambulances arrive but didn't see anyone injured.
He also said police had apparently stopped traffic on nearby Pulaski Highway not far from the tracks and he no longer had any customers at his donut shop.
John Kane, treasurer of Atlantic Tire on nearby Pulaski Highway, said the explosion blew out two large showcase windows and light fixtures in his shop.