February 7, 2011 in Nation/World

In brief: Freight train derails, explodes


ARCADIA, Ohio – Several tanker cars carrying volatile chemicals continued to burn Sunday evening after a freight train derailed and caused an explosion in northwest Ohio, a fire official said.

Some residents who earlier had been forced to evacuate have returned to their homes.

No injuries were reported after about half the cars on the 62-car train derailed in a rural area about 50 miles south of Toledo, said Capt. Jim Breyman of the Arcadia Fire Department. He estimated about 8 cars – each carrying more than 30,000 gallons of ethanol – exploded and caught fire early Sunday. In all, 28 cars were burned in the fire.

The train was headed from Chicago to North Carolina and loaded with ethanol, said Norfolk Southern spokesman Rudy Husband. He said he had no information on what caused the derailment.

Breyman said three or four cars were still burning, but those were expected to be out as soon as early this morning.

Rocket carries security cargo

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – A rocket carrying a national security payload was successfully launched Sunday from a base on California’s central coast, Air Force officials said.

The Minotaur 1 rocket took off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 4:26 a.m., said Col. Richard Boltz, 30th Space Wing commander. The launch, which was scheduled for Saturday, had been delayed by a day because of power problems with the rocket’s safety equipment.

The four-stage, solid-fueled rocket was carrying a research and development spacecraft for the National Reconnaissance Office, but officials gave no further details on the craft’s purpose or cost.

Raccoon ends wrestlers’ season

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – A raccoon has ended a North Dakota team’s bid for a fourth consecutive regional championship in high school wrestling.

The Carrington High School team was pulled from Saturday’s tournament when officials discovered the athletes had been exposed to a live raccoon.

Grafton police Sgt. Anthony Dumas said the team picked up what members thought was a dead raccoon on the way to the tournament in Grafton and stowed in the storage area of their bus. Dumas said when the compartment was opened later, the raccoon “just trotted away.”

The animal didn’t scratch or bite anyone, but it’s not known whether it had rabies.

School officials brought the team home as a precaution, the Grand Forks Herald reported.

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