A 25-car Kansas City Southern train went off the tracks in Mauriceville at around 7:30 a.m., according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
Ten of the cars were empty, but at least four tankers were leaking a petroleum product the sheriff’s office said was not a threat to the public. Another tanker spilled “a corrosive product” that authorities were working to contain.
The sheriff’s office ordered a 1-mile “exclusion zone” around the crash site, affecting about 600 residents as well as schools and businesses – many of whom lost power when the out-of-control train knocked down a row of power lines.
Students at an elementary school and a middle school outside of the evacuation area were told to shelter in place until they were taken to be picked up, according to the Beaumont Enterprise, citing district officials.
The sheriff also shared aerial photos of the crash – showing a mangled pileup of train cars, some of them torn apart and others flipped upside-down or on their sides.
There were no reports of injuries.
Video captured some of the derailment as it happened, seen from a car on the road alongside the tracks. It shows a cloud of smoke and damaged cars as the rest of the train continues to slide forward – adding to the chaos.
The utility company Entergy said it was working with local officials to restore power, but that debris was hampering efforts to get crews safely to the scene.
“We're working with local officials to restore power where it is safe to do so,” the company tweeted.
And Kansas City Southern was working with local and state agencies on the cleanup, the sheriff said.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said emergency responders were monitoring the air for contaminants and aiding local officials.