Train in Iowa hauling hazardous materials derails, catches fire

A Union Pacific train hauling hazardous materials derailed and then caught fire in the city of Sibley, Iowa, authorities said on Sunday, leading to the evacuation of dozens of people although there were no reports of injuries or fatalities.

The derailment, involving 47 rail cars, took place in the afternoon in Sibley, Union Pacific said, adding the cause of the incident was under investigation.

Within an hour, local officials texted an evacuation order to people nearby. An area comprising about a 5-mile radius around the scene of the derailment was evacuated as a precaution, according to ABC News.

“There were no injuries to the crew,” Union Pacific said in an emailed statement, adding that Union Pacific was working with first responders at the scene.

“Approximately 80 people were evacuated”, the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said in an email. Ken Huls, the fire chief in Sibley, said the train was carrying fertilizer and ammonium, the radio station KIWA reported.

“At around 2 p.m. CT, May 16, a Union Pacific train derailed approximately 47 rail cars near Sibley, Iowa,” Union Pacific Railroad Company said in a statement Sunday night. “There were no injuries to the crew. Union Pacific is working with local first responders at the scene. Cause of the derailment is under investigation.”

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office told ABC News that hazmat equipment was on the scene, although they could not say whether it was being used. After the incident, the Red Cross in Iowa wrote on Facebook that they opened a reception centre  for displaced families.

Individuals and families displaced from their home are welcome at the centre where volunteers are on hand to assist those impacted. At this time, overnight accommodations are not being provided, but the Red Cross is monitoring the situation and is prepared to provide lodging, if the need arises,” they wrote.