MILAM COUNTY, Texas – Milam County residents woke up in a panic after hearing explosions caused by an 18-wheeler and train collision Tuesday morning.
Luckily, no injuries were reported – but the accident forced some to leave their homes.
The clouds of smoke could be seen for miles around 6:40 a.m.
Maria Davis and her husband Peter were sound asleep when one of their neighbors woke them up in a panic.
“We came out here, and there were just flames shooting up in the sky. And then we were told we had to get out,” Davis said.
Authorities say they evacuated several homes in the immediate area because of the potential danger the fire could cause.
“There was some hazardous materials a little further back, so by the grace of God we were saved on that one. And BSNF showed up quickly and disconnected, removed the hazardous products out of range,” Milam County Sheriff Chris White said in a press conference.
Sheriff White says the driver and train operators walked away just fine. The train’s first few cars were carrying coal and gas, which caused the huge fire.
One car untouched by the fire was carrying phosphoric acid solution, which authorities say would have changed this story completely.
“That was one car behind the fire, so it was not perforated or an issue, and we do thank God for that,” said White.
Authorities say all the tools designed to prevent these types of crashes were in place and fully functioning, but the driver of the 18-wheeler still somehow ended up in the train’s path. This is something nearby neighbors are having trouble processing.
“There’s guard rails that come down, and lights blinking. So for an 18-wheeler to hit the train as it’s moving across the track is pretty hard to believe,” Davis told FOX44.
BNSF has crews on scene from Houston and Dallas, who are making sure the fire is out completely.
At last check, the accident didn’t affect Milam County’s water supply – and there are no reports of toxins in the air at this time.
BNSF has established a claims hotline for any impacted residents. The hotline number is 1-866-243-4784.