Illinois train derailment prompts evacuations

Town evacuated after train derails
Town evacuated after train derails

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Town evacuated after train derails 01:58

Story highlights

  • This is apparently not a major hazardous materials concern, a sheriff says
  • The train, transporting ethanol alcohol, derails in Tiskilwa, Illinois
  • The Red Cross sets up a shelter
A train derailment in northern Illinois early Friday prompted the evacuation of 800 people and left several freight cars burning, authorities said.
Smoke swirled over the derailment scene in the small town of Tiskilwa as the National Transportation Safety Board formed a six-person team to investigate.
The 126-car train was hauling ethanol alcohol when some of the cars derailed around 2:20 a.m., the Bureau County Sheriff's Office said.
The Red Cross opened a shelter at the high school in nearby Princeton and were providing services for more than 25, agency spokeswoman Kasey Kelly said.
People will stay overnight if the evacuation order lasts into the evening, she said.
Several fire departments responded, including the Ottawa Fire Department about an hour from the scene.
Ottawa Fire Capt. Steve Haywood told CNN officials were worried about expanding liquid vapor explosions.
"It's something you are concerned with all the time," he said.
He said authorities planned to pull parts of the train that weren't burning or derailed away from the scene.
"My guess is they'll probably just let it burn." he said.
Bureau County Sheriff John Thompson, quoted by the Bureau County Republican newspaper, said no injuries had been reported and no homes or other structures were on fire. He was quoted as saying the situation didn't appear to a "major hazmat concern."
"They can't rule out that it's an accident at this time or that it was criminal," he was quoted as saying.
Citing Thompson, the paper said the evacuation wasn't mandatory but was recommended because "the winds could increase and change directions, causing the fire from the still-burning train cars to blow westward into town."