Cause Of Oklahoma Train Derailment Still Under Investigation

ARDMORE, Okla. (AP) -- Officials were investigating the cause of a train derailment in southern Oklahoma that sparked a small fire and forced residents from their homes early Wednesday.

Joe Faust, regional director of public affairs for Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Co., said 24 train cars jumped the track at about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

No one was injured.

Faust said earlier reports that an explosion caused the train to derail were incorrect.

``I'm sure to someone who has never witnessed 24 freight cars derailing it may sound like an explosion, but that's not an accurate way to describe it,'' Faust said.

One car of the southbound 111-car train was carrying the chemical dimethylamine anhydrous, similar to anhydrous ammonia, Faust said. The rest of the cars were carrying non-hazardous materials.

The derailment also suspended Amtrak's Heartland Flyer service between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth, Texas. Service is expected to resume Friday morning, said Marc Magliari, a Chicago-based spokesman for Amtrak.

Buses have been chartered for Amtrak passengers. Also, tickets can be traded for another day with no penalty, Magliari said.

Faust said firefighters had the fire under control after a short time.

The train was traveling from Arkansas City, Kan., to Gainesville, Texas, when it derailed about 30 miles north of Gainesville.

About 50 residents within 1.5 miles of the derailment were evacuated from their homes, but were able to return to their homes by about 6:30 a.m.

Faust said the tracks were expected to be opened up by midnight Wednesday.


Explosion Derails Okla. HazMat Train