Tornadoes derail train, smash homes in N. Arizona

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BELLEMONT, Ariz. (AP) — Two tornadoes touched down in northern Arizona early Wednesday, derailing 28 cars of a parked freight train, blowing semis off the highway and smashing out the windows of dozens of homes.

The first tornado hit Bellemont — west of Flagstaff — around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday and the second touched down east of the small community a short time later.

Fifteen homes in Bellemont were so badly damaged that they were uninhabitable and the estimated 30 people who lived in them were evacuated. Authorities were setting up a shelter at midmorning Wednesday, said Coconino County Sheriff's Office spokesman Gerry Blair

About 30 RVs were damaged at a business in Bellemont that sells the vehicles and runs a camp ground for RVs.

No serious injuries or deaths were reported. Two crew members were on the train when it was cast off the tracks around 6:30 a.m. PDT, said Burlington Northern-Santa Fe spokeswoman Lena Kent, but neither was hurt.

The train was hauling cargo from ports in Los Angeles to the east and contained no hazardous materials. The derailed cars are blocking both main rail lines through the area, and the railroad expects to reopen one of the lines by midnight.

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