A small settlement catering to travelers along a nearby bridge to the United States was reduced to little more than smoldering rubble when a tanker truck collided with a train, killing two people and injuring at least 44.
Witnesses said they heard two large explosions Thursday followed by a series of smaller ones, with gusts of fire ripping through cement-wall homes and blasting off corrugated metal roofing, according to AP. "It was terrible. It was like an earthquake," said Jorge Batres, describing how flames spread to nearby cars, shops and houses. "All is destroyed."
The truck owned by Techno Gas of Monterrey, Mexico, was hauling two tank loads of liquid petroleum gas. Witnesses say the truck failed to stop when the train sounded. The collision occurred about 3:20 p.m. One tank exploded and the other seeped gas through a puncture, fueling flames that took a team of Mexican and Texas firefighters hours to extinguish.
Orlando Garcia, director of emergency services for Matamoros, Mexico, said the driver of the truck and the train's engineer died. He said the most severely injured were taken to hospitals in Monterrey. Others were taken to hospitals in Matamoros and across the border to Harlingen, Texas. It took several hours to find all the injured.