IRVINE, Ky. – Four runaway rail cars struck two parked locomotives in east-central Kentucky on Monday, causing a fire spilling a chemical that prompted a limited evacuation and orders that others stay indoors.
The crash released butyl acetate, a flammable liquid, from a burning tanker car, authorities said. The fire produced a huge column of black smoke, and a section of the Kentucky River caught fire. No injuries were reported, authorities said.
"Emergency crews are attempting to extinguish that flame," said Kentucky State Police Maj. Lisa Rudzinski. "That is a toxic cloud as a result of that butyl acetate."
The burning tanker car contained about 30,000 gallons of butyl acetate, said CSX spokesman Gary Sease. Butyl acetate is commonly used as a solvent or as a synthetic fruit flavoring.
Police ordered people in the immediate area to evacuate, and people in others part of Estill County were told to stay indoors, keep their windows closed and to put towels under doors.
Four CSX rail cars left their track shortly before noon and went onto a main rail line, traveling several miles before hitting the parked CSX locomotives, Sease said.
Both the locomotives and rail cars were unmanned, Rudzinski said.