20 Norfolk Southern train cars derail in Ohio; no hazardous materials on board, officials say

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — About 20 cars of a Norfolk-Southern freight train derailed near Springfield Saturday night, the second derailment of the company’s trains in Ohio in a month, officials said.

But unlike the Feb. 3 derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, a company spokesman told NBC News there were no hazardous materials on board.

The Clark County Emergency Management Agency said earlier in the night officials were working to confirm the company’s account of the materials. Late Saturday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said in a tweet shared by the agency, “We do not believe any hazardous materials were involved.”

No injuries were reported when about 20 cars of the 212-car train derailed near Springfield while traveling south, Norfolk Southern spokesman said. Springfield is approximately 46 miles west of the state capital of Columbus, Ohio.

“Our teams are on their way to the site to begin the cleanup,” the company said.

The derailment near the Clark County Fairgrounds left more than 1,500 people without power, and the agency asked residents within 1,000 feet of the site to take shelter, but said it had not issued any formal evacuation orders.

Shawn Heaton told the Springfield News-Sun that he was waiting at the junction as the train crossed the junction and caught the beginning of the derailment on video.

“I was right there playing on my phone and then I heard a loud bang. And when I heard the loud bang, I started recording,” Heaton said. “When I heard the bang there was all sorts of debris and metal shooting out from under the cars and then I started recording and you could see them start jumping off the tracks.”

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a tweet Saturday night that he was briefed by the Federal Railroad Administration and spoke to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to offer assistance.

“No releases of hazardous materials have been reported, but we continue to monitor this closely and FRA personnel are on the way,” Buttigieg said.

On February 3, 38 cars on a Norfolk-Southern freight train derailed in eastern Palestine in northeastern Ohio near Pennsylvania, and several cars on the train carrying hazardous materials caught fire.

Although no one was injured, nearby neighborhoods in both states were at risk. The crash prompted the evacuation of about half of the town’s roughly 5,000 residents, ongoing emergency relief from multiple governments, and ongoing concerns among villagers about long-term health effects.

Jo Kottke And Elizabeth Maleline contributed.

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