(Reuters) - Two people were killed and two were injured in northern Arkansas early on Sunday when two Union Pacific freight trains carrying toxic substances collided, Arkansas State Police said.
The victims were crew members aboard the trains, which collided head-on about 2:30 a.m. CDT in the community of Hoxie, about two hours northeast of Little Rock, authorities said.
Union Pacific officials declined to comment on Sunday afternoon, referring questions to the National Transportation Safety Board officials expected to take over the investigation.
About 500 people were briefly evacuated from nearby homes while the trains burned, said Kendell Snyder, spokesman for the Arkansas Office of Emergency Management.
Snyder said diesel fuel from the trains' fuel tanks and some type of alcoholic beverage being transported caught on fire.
"There were some additional hazardous materials on the trains as part of the cargo, but I don't know what those products were," he said. "I do know that they were not compromised in the fire."
The residents returned home and most roads, blocked during the fire, were reopened by midday on Sunday, police said.
(Reporting by Karen Brooks; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Cynthia Osterman)