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SHELBY COUNTY, Ind. — Emergency responders in Shelby County were dispatched to a train derailment Thursday morning.

The train derailment happened around 8:10 a.m. on Railroad Street between State Road 9 and State Road 52 in Fountaintown.

The train was carrying around 80 cars total. An official from CSX Transportation said 14 of those cars were derailed. Six were empty, and eight were carrying “mixed freight.”

“Hazardous materials crews got on scene and discovered there were no actual hazardous materials leaking from any of the cars that had derailed,” said Rita Reith, Battalion Chief with the Indianapolis Fire Department. “The only two items that were leaking were some used cooking oil that was leaking from one of the cars and some plastic pellets.”

Reith said a total of 10 homes on either side of the railroad tracks were evacuated as a precaution.

“They did not know what they had at the time,” said Reith. “But there were no injuries, no loss of life, and nothing was harmed except for the track itself.”

James Gerard lives just a few blocks from where the pile-up happened. He said he was one of the first to call 9-1-1.

“Well I was in the house and I heard these loud booms. One after another — boom, boom, boom, boom,” said Gerard. “Then the power went out.”

Initially, Duke Energy reported an estimated 427 customers without power due to the derailment. Those homes are expected to be back up and running by midnight Thursday.

“I’ve never seen a trainwreck like this before, no,” said Gerard. “I mean these are big cars and they’re messed up. It’s really messed up down there.”Road closures could be in place for up to 24 hours. Those closures include SR 9, US 52, Railroad St and Division St. IFD said those road closures are not affecting fire, EMS or other emergency services. Shelbyville and Shelby Eastern Schools were contacted to consider re-routing buses for after-school drop-offs.

This is now a multi-agency investigation including state fire marshals.

CSX says the impact of the crash pushed 100 feet of rails off the ground. They say work will be done on the railroad once the cars are cleared. It is too early to determine when the site will be fully restored. 

Here is the statement from CSX in full:

At approximately 8:11 a.m. today, a CSX train headed to Avon yard in Indianapolis derailed fourteen railcars near North Division Road in Fountaintown, IN. Preliminary reports indicate that of the derailed cars, six are empty and eight are loaded with mixed freight. During the course of the derailment, the railcars impacted several power lines causing power disruption near the surrounding area. CSX is working closely with the local fire department, first responders, and Duke Energy to secure the site and restore power as quickly and safely as possible. There were no injuries to the train crew. The safety of the community and everyone on site is our top priority as we develop a recovery plan. The cause of the derailment remains under investigation.

Sheriee S. Bowman, Media Relations
CSX Transportation