07/31/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Train Crash In Italy Kills 16, Sets Buildings Ablaze (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

At least 16 people were killed and another 50 injured in a train derailment accident that led to an explosion in northern Italy, ITN reports.

The accident occurred when a carriage carrying liquid gas exploded as it derailed near the town of Viareggio at around midnight last night.

The ensuing blast set nearby buildings and vehicles alight.

Eyewitness Gianfranco Bini told AP, "We saw a ball of fire rising up to the sky. We heard three big rumbles, like bombs. It looked like war had broken out."

It took several hours for firefighters to contain the flames and AP reports that about 1,000 people were evacuated from their homes.

The total death toll is unclear as rescue workers continue to search the rubble of fallen buildings for survivors.

Italian news agency ANSA quotes health director Giancarlo Sassoli saying, ''It was an apocalypse from the human and health standpoint."

Prime Minister Berlusconi is traveling to the scene of the accident, according to ANSA.

ANSA reports that the investigation into the accident continues but human error has been ruled out.

This is Italy's worst rail accident since 2005 when 17 people were killed in a collision between a passenger train and a freight train near Bologna, ITN reports.

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