updated 5/20/2004 12:21:18 AM ET 2004-05-20T04:21:18

Two freight trains collided just outside this small North Texas town Wednesday, killing an engineer and injuring four other people, authorities said. About 20 cars derailed in a tangled mess of steel.

Department of Public Safety Trooper Rebecca Uresti said one of the injured suffered severe burns and was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Dallas, about 50 miles to the south.

The other three victims were taken to a hospital in Sherman, a few miles from the crash scene. Uresti said the man who died was an engineer.

Lt. David Hawley of the Grayson County Sheriff’s Department said the rail cars on one of the trains were empty. The other hauled rocks. At least one of the locomotives burned in the head-on crash.

There were no evacuations, but a hazardous materials crew was called to the scene to clean up spilled diesel fuel.

Television footage showed about 20 cars off the tracks. The rock-hauling train had 24 cars and three locomotives, officials said. The number of cars on the other train was not immediately available.

Joe Faust, a spokesman for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., said both of the trains belong to the company.

The cause of the accident wasn’t immediately known. Federal Transportation Department officials were on the scene late Wednesday, and investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were headed there, Hawley said.

On May 3, two freight trains collided on a Union Pacific track just south of downtown San Antonio, injuring three people.

Two locomotives and 12 freight cars from one of the trains derailed, with both engines and five of the cars falling into the San Antonio River. About 5,600 gallons of diesel fuel was spilled into the river, according to a Union Pacific spokesman.

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