Officials say a freight train loaded with ethanol crashed and exploded Friday, sending up bright orange flames and forcing the evacuation of a small Illinois town’s entire population.
The derailment, which the Chicago Sun Times reported involved over half of the train’s 126 cars, occurred around 2:15am in the tiny village of Tiskilwa – located about 100 miles west of Chicago.
Following the incident Tiskilwa’s 800 residents were taken to a nearby high school, where the Red Cross had setup a shelter for overnight stay if necessary.
Bureau County Emergency Management spokesman Les Grant says the evacuation was strictly precautionary.
“The biggest fear was–there were 60 cars hauling alcohol on that train,” Grant explained. “So I think that the fear was that the fire could have escalated.”
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman Maggie Carson says ethanol fumes are expected to burn off without long-term effects for residents.
Latest reports claim that no town residents or train crew members, but those have not yet been confirmed.
At this time, the cause of the Tiskilwa train derailment is unknown. The National Transportation Safety Board is sending a team to investigate.
via Chicago Sun Times