About 80 folks in a metropolis in northwest Iowa have been evacuated on Sunday afternoon after a part of a Union Pacific practice hauling hazardous supplies derailed after which caught hearth, officers mentioned.
The derailment of about 47 vehicles befell round 2 p.m. in Sibley, mentioned Robynn Tysver, a spokeswoman for Union Pacific. By 3 p.m., native officers had texted an evacuation order to folks close by, citing “HAZMAT practice derailment and hearth.”
There have been no reviews of accidents or fatalities, mentioned Lucinda Parker, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Division of Homeland Safety and Emergency Administration. It was not clear the place the practice was headed or what number of whole vehicles it had.
Mike Schulte, a member of the Osceola County board of supervisors, and Ms. Tysver mentioned they have been unable to verify what supplies have been on the practice when it derailed.
Ken Huls, the hearth chief in Sibley, mentioned the practice was carrying ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that can be utilized in explosives, the radio station KIWA reported. Sibley, which is about 80 miles north of Sioux Metropolis, has a inhabitants of about 2,700.
Wendy J. Buckley, president and chief govt of STARS Hazmat Consulting, mentioned that ammonium nitrate blended with diesel gas is “a really explosive combination.”
The mix is used within the mining trade as an explosive. It was additionally used within the Oklahoma Metropolis bombing in 1995 that killed 169 folks and injured 467, she mentioned.
Dan Bechler, the emergency administration coordinator for Osceola County, mentioned in an interview that responders have been nonetheless making an attempt to piece collectively what occurred.
Robin Eggink and her husband, Scott, have been consuming inside a Pizza Hut after they observed a big practice close by.
“It was slowing down after which it got here to a cease,” she mentioned.
Mr. Eggink, 52, had labored as a practice conductor for a couple of yr and “he simply is aware of by the noise that it shouldn’t have got here to a cease prefer it was,” she mentioned. He mentioned the noise sounded just like the “squeal” of some sort of brake being deployed.
Seeing the practice cease at that location was uncommon, Ms. Eggink mentioned. The practice was blocking a freeway intersection and “it could’t cease for very lengthy the place it’s at,” she recalled pondering.
About 10 minutes later, they noticed the smoke and hearth, Ms. Eggink mentioned.
Ms. Tysver mentioned she couldn’t touch upon such particulars as a result of the derailment was nonetheless being investigated.
Ms. Buckley, whose agency advises corporations on the way to transport and retailer hazardous materials, mentioned a practice derailment ensuing within the lack of hazardous materials may be very unusual.
Trains, she mentioned, are the most secure transportation methodology for such materials.
“Per million miles traveled, rail is way safer than freeway or vessel,” she mentioned. “And you may’t actually transport bulk portions of hazmat on an airplane.”