UPDATE 7/25/12 @ 3:21 p.m.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Federal officials have estimated damage caused by a train derailment and explosion in central Ohio this month to be about $1.2 million.
The estimated cost was part of a brief preliminary report released Wednesday by the National Transportation Safety Board. The agency is looking into what caused the July 11 derailment on Norfolk Southern Corp. tracks north of downtown Columbus.
The accident derailed 17 cars and caused a fire that burned for hours. Two people suffered minor injuries.
NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss said the report just states general background information. He said a final report investigating what caused the accident may take up to a year.
Part of the train derailed early Wednesday on Norfolk Southern Corp. tracks north of downtown, and three tank cars carrying ethanol exploded. Authorities decided to let them burn for a while and then sprayed a chemical foam to prevent the blaze from re-igniting.
Norfolk Southern says the smoldering fire extinguished early Thursday morning. The company has begun moving cars away from the scene.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating what caused the crash.
Investigators say the train was traveling below the recommended speed, and its operators noticed no problems with the track as they approached the curve where the crash happened.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating what caused the Wednesday derailment on Norfolk Southern Corp. tracks north of downtown.
Three tank cars carrying ethanol exploded. No one on the train was hurt. Two people were injured while walking on the tracks to investigate when a second explosion occurred.
Investigators are reconstructing the rails in hopes of spotting any anomalies. The full investigation could take a year.
Board member Earl Weener says the track had been visually inspected Monday and had undergone more thorough testing in April during an annual inspection.
Authorities say 10 or 11 cars derailed early Wednesday near Interstate 71, southeast of the Ohio State University campus.
Assistant Chief David Whiting says three of those cars were tankers of ethanol.
Joel Priester watched the blast from his home two blocks away and said it "looked like the sun exploded."
Norfolk Southern said it wasn't immediately clear what caused the derailment. Authorities decided to let the fire burn out instead of trying to extinguish it.
A fire official says two people who ran toward the scene before the explosion were injured but were able to take themselves to a hospital.
The fire prompted the evacuation of a mile-wide area.
Norfolk Southern says it appears about 11 cars of a southbound train derailed around 2 a.m. Wednesday near Interstate 71, southeast of the Ohio State University campus. It wasn't immediately clear what caused the crash, how many cars caught fire or what they contained.
A photographer who was in the area says he was more than 10 miles away in New Albany when he saw something illuminate the sky. He says he went to the scene to take photos and noticed a chemical smell in addition to the smoke.
A fire official says two people were injured, but no details were available.
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