WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A freight train carrying hazardous chemicals and a variety of other materials collided with a truck northeast of Baltimore on Tuesday, injuring the truck driver and sparking a fire, authorities said.
About 15 CSX Corp train cars derailed shortly after 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) near White Marsh, Maryland, and caught fire, sending a thick column of black smoke into the air, TV pictures showed.
The driver of the truck struck by the train was sent to a Baltimore shock trauma center in serious condition, the Baltimore County Police and Fire Department said in a statement. Two CSX workers on the train were unhurt, it said.
At least one of the rail cars contained sodium chlorate, an oxidizer used in a variety of industrial processes, CSX said in a statement. The U.S. Department of Transportation classifies sodium chlorate as a hazardous material, according to CSX.
The train, being pulled by two locomotives, had 45 rail cars that also contained products such as lumber and printing paper, according to CSX.
A police and fire spokeswoman said people were advised to leave a nearby 20-block area, with those staying behind urged to keep windows closed and air conditioners off.
It was the third significant rail crash in the United States in the past two weeks. On Saturday, two freight trains operated by BNSF Railway Co and Union Pacific Corp crashed at a rail intersection in rural Missouri, injuring seven people.
That accident came a little more than a week after a Metro North commuter train derailed near Fairfield, Connecticut. That accident injured more than 70 people and shut down traffic on one of the most heavily traveled passenger rail corridors in the United States.
On Friday, an interstate highway bridge in a rural part of Washington state collapsed after a truck carrying a large load hit a support beam. The collapse sent vehicles and drivers tumbling into a frigid river.
The CSX train involved in Tuesday's incident was traveling from Selkirk, New York, to Waycross, Georgia. An investigation is underway, CSX said.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Scott Malone, Gerald E. McCormick, Steve Orlofsky, David Gregorio and Richard Chang)