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Dozens of railcars carrying gas derail in Russia; hundreds evacuated, no one injured

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MOSCOW - Several dozen railway cars carrying gas exploded into fireballs in Russia on Wednesday, suspending traffic on the Trans-Siberian Railway and prompting evacuations from nearby buildings, emergency officials said. No injuries were reported.

The crash occurred at a railway station in Kirov, about 800 kilometres (some 500 miles) northeast of Moscow, when 32 railcars loaded with gas condensate derailed and caught fire.

The inferno engulfed a large area around the station, forcing the evacuation of about 700 residents from several nearby apartment buildings, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.

Several hundred emergency workers fought the blaze. An investigation into the derailment has been opened.

There were reports that some of the gas leaked into a nearby river, and a photo provided by the ministry shows a line of flames on part of the river. But local emergency ministry chief Mikhail Likhachev said there was no threat to the environment and no gas spilled into the water, according to Russian news agencies.

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