DUPO, Ill. (KMOV.com) – Schools and residences were evacuated after a train derailment sparked a fire in Dupo, Illinois.
The derailment reportedly happened in the 300 block of Main Street Tuesday. Around 14 train cars were derailed in the area, Union Pacific said.
Witnesses on scene told News 4 they heard the sound of railcars breaking, then the sound of metal crunching and clanging before the cars went of the track and flames erupted.
"I was just standing out here working and seen a giant fireball out of the corner of my eye and I looked over and saw smoke billowing and then it started spreading down the tracks about five minutes after that," said Patrick Wilson, who works near the site of the accident. "It sounded like it jumped off at first. You could hear the brakes and then it was all just boom, boom, boom after that and then the fireball."
The Powerhouse Skyzoom4 was over the area about 30 minutes after the accident was first reported and saw multiple train cars on fire. It also appeared nearby water was on fire.
Union Pacific said the fire was put out at 3:15 p.m.
News 4's Russell Kinsaul spoke with a witness who said he heard a loud bang and then saw a fireball go up at the location. While at the scene, Kinsaul said there was no foul smell or odor that he could detect.
About 1:15 p.m., Dupo police officials told News 4 they began evacuating the Adams subdivision. Those evacuated were sent to the East Carondelet Community Center.
Thirty minutes later, Dupo schools said they were being evacuated to Columbia High School.
Union Pacific issued the following statement regarding the derailment:
Around 12:45 p.m., approximately 14 rail cars derailed in Union Pacific's Dupo Yard near Carondelet Avenue between Main and Adams Road. No injuries have been reported.
At the time of the derailment, a train was being built for departure; however, the exact cause remains under investigation. As a result of the derailment, a tank car caught fire. Initial information indicates that the tank car contained a flammable liquid called methyl isobutyl ketone, which is typically used as a solvent.
The fire was extinguished around 3:15 p.m. Following an air quality test, area evacuations were lifted at approximately 3:45 p.m. Out of an abundance of caution, CTEH, our environmental contractor, will continue to monitor air quality downwind and southwind at least 5 miles from the yard until further notice.
Union Pacific apologizes to the community for the impact this has caused. We’d also like to thank the first responders who put out the fire and helped with the evacuation. Union Pacific’s Hazmat personnel will remain on scene until remediation is complete.
Right now, we are working to remove the cars. Once that is finished, we will inspect the track and make any necessary repairs. We anticipate this being completed by early tomorrow.
Prolonged contact to methyl isobutly ketone can reportedly cause a skin rash, dryness and redness. It could also damage the liver and kidneys. It is also highly flammable and can cause explosions.
Smoke from the derailment and fire could be seen in downtown St. Louis.
As of 3:00 p.m., Ameren Illinois reported nearly 400 people were out of power due to the ongoing situation.
The company said they "are working closely with Emergency Management and Railroad officials so we can restore power as quickly and safely as possible."
Officials announced just before 4:00 p.m. that the evacuation orders had been lifted, and residents can begin returning home.
No one was injured in the incident.