Illinois schools, neighborhood evacuated after train derailment sparks huge fire

Author: STEPHANIE BAUMER/CNN Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:
Evacuations are underway after a train derailment sparked a fire in Dupo, Illinois. (KMOV via CNN)

Evacuations are underway after a train derailment sparked a fire in Dupo, Illinois.

The derailment reportedly happened in the 300 block of Main Street Tuesday. At least 16 train cars appeared to be derailed in the area.

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.

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 were evacuating the Adams subdivision. Those being evacuated are being 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., a derailment occurred in Union Pacific’s Dupo Yard near Carondelet Avenue between Main and Adams Road. Both crossings are closed. The train was being built for departure at the time of the derailment, which caused a tank car to catch fire. Initial information from the scene indicates that the tank car contains a flammable liquid called methyl isobutyl ketone. It is typically used as a solvent.

Union Pacific is working with area first responders to put out the fire. Our yard and nearby intermodal ramp were safely evacuated. At this time, no injuries have been reported.

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 can 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.”

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