A CN Rail train carrying fuel oil and other hazardous materials derailed this morning and is leaking in southeast Mississippi, forcing the evacuation of nearby homes, officials said.
No one was injured in the incident which involved the derailment of at least 18 rail cars, some of which were carrying methanol, a CN spokesman said. Patrick Waldron, U.S. public affairs manager for CN, told CBC News the derailment happened at about 9 a.m. local time Friday.
At least eight cars have spilled but there is no fire, Waldron said.
The incident occurred in the city limits of New Augusta in Perry County, near a mobile-home park, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). The derailment is near a four-lane divided highway.
"It's not a huge city but there are a good number of folks in that area," a MEMA spokesman said.
Emergency services are at the scene, local officials said.
The incident follows a string of derailments of trains carrying crude oil over the past year, raising questions about the safety of certain older tank cars.
Federal regulators have been studying rail car design and other issues after the string of explosive derailments, including one last month when a 106-car BNSF Railway Co. train carrying crude east crashed into a derailed westbound BNSF grain train near Casselton, N.D.
Last July, a runaway oil train derailed and exploded in the centre of the Quebec town of Lac-Mégantic, killing 47 people.