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Schellebelle train accident

On May 4, 2013, around 2 a.m. local time, a train, carrying highly toxic chemicals derailed in Belgium, between the towns of Schellebelle and Wetteren, causing an explosion. One person died and 17 others were injured.

Six of the train’s 13 cars derailed and two were thrown on to their side by the force of derailment. The blaze led to a series of explosions in the railway cars. Fire then spread over hundreds of yards, prompting authorities to evacuate residents living more than 500 yards from the site of the accident.

However, toxic fumes reached much further through the drainage system. Indeed, nearly 300 people were evacuated from their homes. Some of the injured, were people living well away from the scene of the accident but were affected by the toxic fumes from the highly flammable liquid chemicals.

The causes of the accident remained unclear. The cars derailed as the train changed tracks and observers said it might have been travelling too fast.

Two similar accidents involving trains carrying tanks of toxic products occurred in Belgium in May 2012.

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