(CNN) -- A train pulling over 70 tankers of crude oil derailed and burst into flames in Canada early Saturday near the U.S. border.
It jumped the tracks in the small town of Lac-Megantic in the province of Quebec, according to officials in Maine, who received a request for help at around 3 a.m. ET.
The inferno spread to nearby homes, and authorities evacuated the center of town and a home for the elderly, CNN affiliate Radio-Canada reported. Thick fuel spilled into the Chaudiere River.
Firefighters from both countries rushed to fight the blaze with at least 27 firefighting vehicles.
Five of the trucks deployed from the United States, after the sheriff's office in Franklin County, Maine, issued an "all call" for help to U.S. fire departments near the border.
Flames welling up stories high into the night sky were caught on camera and uploaded to Youtube. The video appears to reveal an explosion. Thick black smoke billowed into the air.
A "nauseating" odor spread through the town, Radio-Canada reported, and environmental emergency services dispatched a mobile lab to check for airborne toxins.
The radio station said that the oil shipment was on its way to the United States.
CNN's Pierre Meilhan, Darrell Calhoun, Jake Carpenter and Deanna Hackney contributed to this report. Ben Brumfield wrote from Atlanta.
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