Four people were injured after two trains collided and derailed late Sunday night in Georgetown, Kentucky, officials said.
A call came in at 11:14 p.m. to report the crash, Lt. Jessica Bowman, spokeswoman for the Lexington Fire Department told The Associated Press.
Residents were evacuated “out of an abundance of caution,” Bowman said, because a substance had spilled during the crash and ignited a fire. Bowman said she could not confirm what the substance was but once officials determined there was no safety risks residents were allowed to return home.
The superintendent of Scott County Schools, Kevin Hub, said early Monday that there was a plan in place to have the district open schools to shelter residents in case of an emergency. He said he was called by Georgetown police and told to put the plan in motion. Buses were sent to the neighborhood to collect those who couldn’t drive. Hub said they were prepared to receive hundreds of people. The Red Cross was also on the scene with snacks. Shortly after many residents arrived they were able to return home.
Hub said he could see smoke billowing from the scene of the train crash on his way to the school.
At Lemons Hill Elementary, Christina Griffen said she was asleep when neighbors called her around 11:30 p.m. to say they needed to evacuate. As she and her son were leaving an officer warned them to get out of the neighborhood, she said.
Betty Boyner had just laid down when she heard what she thought was something exploding. “We thought, what the hell was that? Was it a train? Was it a trailer? We didn’t see any smoke,” she said. She then got a call from her son in Missouri asking if they were being evacuated. He’d apparently gotten a text from a friend who saw the accident on Facebook, she said. She grabbed her purse and a pillow and headed over to the elementary school. “I’m supposed to be up at 6 a.m. in the morning to go to work,” she said. “That ain’t happening.”
Bowman said the identities of the four injured and their conditions were not known.
Police are still investigating what caused the crash.