A Canadian Pacific freight train derailed in rural Somerset County early Saturday, setting the surrounding forest on fire, according to the Maine Forest Service.
The derailment happened in Sandwich Academy Grant Township about 8:30 a.m. when three locomotive engines and six rail cars left the track and caught fire, causing the surrounding forest to burn as well, the forest service said. The rail cars were carrying lumber and electrical wiring, the forest service said.
The fire was quickly contained and had burned itself out by Sunday, according to the forest service.
Three railroad workers sustained injuries not considered life-threatening, the forest service said. They were taken to an undisclosed hospital and have since been released.
Bill Jarvis, the chief of Jackman-Moose River Fire and Rescue, told ABC affiliate WMTW that it was an “absolute miracle” the three crew members, all from Maine, escaped the wreck without serious injury.
The train was traveling about 35 mph and hauling 15 million pounds of cargo when it derailed, Jarvis told the TV station.
Although additional rail cars were carrying hazardous materials, those cars did not derail and were not at risk of leaking or catching fire, according to the forest service, which said there’s no risk to the public.
The forest service believes the derailment was caused by melting ice and debris that washed out the track.
It’s not known at this time how long it will take to clear the wreckage and repair the track.