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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

145 Hospitalized in Ukraine

KIEV -- The number of people sickened by smoke from a chemical fire triggered by a train derailment reached 145 on Thursday, a Health Ministry spokeswoman said, as Ukraine's transport minister suggested the accident was caused by safety violations.

All of the 145 victims were hospitalized, including 43 children, Health Ministry spokeswoman Olena Titarchuk said. On Wednesday, officials reported that 69 people had fallen ill since the accident on Monday.

The accident occurred when a freight train derailed outside Lviv, near the Polish border, and 15 of its 58 cars overturned. Six tanker cars containing phosphorus ruptured and caught fire, sending smoke and noxious fumes over 90 square kilometers of western Ukraine.

Transport Minister Mykola Rudkovsky suggested safety rules may have been violated, saying on Ukrainian television that if hazardous cargoes were transported following regulations and using appropriate equipment, accidents such as Monday's would not happen.

"If some defects appear in the technical condition of equipment, then accidents similar to the recent one happen," Rudkovsky said, without elaborating.

The Emergency Situations Ministry said Thursday the situation was under control, and there was no lingering health threat, spokesman Ihor Krol said.

But some toxicology experts warned the area may still contain hazardous levels of chemicals.