Train Derailment In Leon Co. Community of Oakwood

By: Mike George & Sylvia Villarreal Email
By: Mike George & Sylvia Villarreal Email

A Union Pacific train has derailed about three miles southwest from the Leon County Community of Oakwood.

A dispatcher from the Leon County Sheriff's Office says 7 cars derailed and have been burning since early Thursday morning. To help fight the fire from the air, a chopper is being used. Residents of Oakwood say the smoke from the can be seen as far as Palestine.

Larry Keith with the Leon County Sheriff's Department says the derailment happened around 4:30 a.m. and that all four crew members on board the train walked away uninjured.

Authorities say the Keechi Creek Tressel was on fire when the train went over it. While the engines made it across safely, the box cars derailed, falling over the side of the tressel.

Keith says the boxcars were filled with parts used to make automobiles and that some of the components are considered hazardous. As a result, a 1.5 square mile area has been evacuated. If additional evacuations are ordered, law enforcement officials will go door to door to alert residents.

Volunteers with the Buffalo and Oakwood fire departments have been battling the fire since early this morning. In addition, the Texas Department of Public Safety is on the scene with ground and aerial crews.

Because the train derailed in a heavily wooded and swampy area, access to the wreckage has been difficult. Texas Parks and Wildlife crews and other fire and rescue units have been using ATVs to try and gain access to the scene.

News 3 has a crew en route. We will have more details as they become available.

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