updated 1/15/2007 2:51:53 PM ET 2007-01-15T19:51:53

Four runaway rail cars struck a parked locomotive in east-central Kentucky on Monday, causing a fire and chemical release that prompted a limited evacuation and orders that others stay indoors.

The crash released butyl acetate, a flammable liquid, from a burning tanker car, authorities said. The fire produced a huge column of black smoke, and a section of the Kentucky River caught fire from the chemical release. No injuries were reported, authorities said.

“Emergency crews are attempting to extinguish that flame,” said Kentucky State Police Maj. Lisa Rudzinksi. “That is a toxic cloud as a result of that butyl acetate.”

Butyl acetate is commonly used as a solvent or as a synthetic fruit flavoring.

Police ordered people in the immediate area to evacuate, and people in others part of Estill County were told to stay indoors and keep their windows closed and to put towels under doors.

Preliminary information indicated that the four CSX rail cars left their track shortly before noon and went onto a main rail line, traveling several miles before hitting the parked CSX locomotive, said CSX spokesman Gary Sease.

Both the locomotive and rail cars were unmanned, Rudzinski said.

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