A freight train hauling chemicals derailed Thursday in southeast Texas, prompting authorities to urge nearby residents to evacuate their homes as hazmat crews assessed the damage, the Orange County sheriff's office said.
The derailment happened Thursday morning near Mauriceville, close to the Louisiana border. Students at a nearby elementary and middle school were evacuated and authorities asked all businesses and homes within a mile of the site to evacuate.
There were no immediate reports of injuries. It was not clear what sent it off the tracks.
A spokesperson for the sheriff's office told NBC News the train was carrying chemicals and officials were working to confirm whether it is hazardous. NBC affiliate KJAC reports the train's tank cars were carrying contents that the sheriff’s office described as "petroleum based."
Drone footage from the sheriff’s office shows train cars piled up along a railroad.
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Ryan Raley, who was working near the site of the crash, told NBC News it felt like an earthquake and then the power went out before he heard the sound of the train squealing as it slid off the tracks.
"Sounded like a tornado coming," Raley said.
Authorities told drivers they should avoid the crash site, near Texas Highway 62 and Farm to Market Road 1130.