Emergency crews were responding to the Union Pacific train tracks north of Lawrence shortly after 5 p.m. Friday after a train derailment was reported.
The derailment occurred near the intersection of U.S. Highway 24-59 and North 1900 Road. Approximately 20 train cars detached from the engine, and a “large amount” of coal spilled out, according to George Diepenbrock, a spokesman with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. The derailment caused significant damage to the rails and the railroad crossing at North 1900 Road, he said.
No fire was reported, and no injuries were reported. Diepenbrock said Grant Township staff was contacted to bring barricades to shut down North 1900 Road on the east and west sides of the crossing.
The cause of the derailment was not immediately clear, officials at the scene said.
At the scene, Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical Division Chief Tom Fagan told the Journal-World that the incident would be turned over to Union Pacific investigators. Fagan said coal was the only thing that was spilled from the cars in the derailment.
Fagan said it was fortunate that nobody was injured.
“We were very lucky today,” Fagan told the Journal-World. “Our biggest concern is life safety. When you have that amount of weight and power moving, we are very fortunate.”