UPDATE: Ohio freight train derails, causing fiery blast

Flames rise from a derailed freight train  early Wednesday July 11, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio.  Part of a freight train derailed and caught fire in Ohio's capital city early Wednesday, shooting flames skyward into the darkness and prompting the evacuation of a mile-wide area as firefighters and hazardous materials crews worked to determine what was burning and contain the blaze.(AP Photo/Chris Mumma)

Flames rise from a derailed freight train early Wednesday July 11, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio. Part of a freight train derailed and caught fire in Ohio's capital city early Wednesday, shooting flames skyward into the darkness and prompting the evacuation of a mile-wide area as firefighters and hazardous materials crews worked to determine what was burning and contain the blaze.(AP Photo/Chris Mumma)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - An early morning train derailment and explosion in Ohio's capital made for a dramatic scene that caused residents to be evacuated, but the mayor says it could have been much worse.

Officials are trying to figure out why part of a freight train carrying ethanol derailed near Interstate 71, north of downtown Columbus, around 2 a.m. Wednesday. Several cars caught fire and exploded, sending flames shooting high in the air.

About 100 residents who live within a 1-mile radius of the derailment were evacuated.

Mayor Michael Coleman visited a temporary shelter set up for evacuees. He says the accident could have been worse if it had occurred in an area where more people lived.

Officials say two people who suffered minor injuries took themselves to the hospital.


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