Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Hit by Train in Virginia

July 19--A truck driver was seriously injured Friday afternoon when his tractor-trailer was hit by a train just north of Somerset.

Authorities said the driver was burned and was airlifted to a Lexington hospital. They did not immediately release his name.

The wreck happened about 3 p.m. on a private access road into the Warner Fertilizer plant from old U.S. 27, which is now designated Ky. 2227. Norfolk Southern tracks cross the private drive between the plant and highway.

The tractor-trailer pulled into the path of the southbound train as the driver tried to cross the tracks, said Lt. Brett Whitaker of the Pulaski County sheriff's office.

The impact split the truck, leaving the cab on one side of the tracks and the trailer on the other.

The truck was loaded with charcoal lighter fluid. Some containers burst and caught fire when the front of the trailer was ripped open, setting the truck and the train ablaze.

Firefighters did a good job quelling the fire with foam to keep it from reaching more containers of lighter fluid in the trailer, said Doug Baker, head of the Somerset-Pulaski County Special Response Team.

Police began working to evacuate the area out of concern about the contents of the truck, but they canceled the evacuation after learning that the cargo was not a hazard to nearby residents. The impact and fire damaged the lead locomotive.

There is a sign at the crossing where the collision happened. There are no lights or a crossbar, but they are not required there, authorities said.

Bill Estep: (606) 678-4655. Twitter: @billestep1

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