Black Smoke Seen for Miles After Train Derailment

Freight train believed to be bearing flammable liquid, but no injuries reported
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 10, 2019 4:48 PM CDT

(Newser) – A freight train believed to be bearing a flammable liquid used in solvents derailed in an Illinois suburb of St. Louis Tuesday, causing a fire that sent thick, black smoke into the air and prompted the evacuation of nearby schools and residences. In a news release, Union Pacific said that the train derailed at its yard at about 12:45pm in the town of Dupo, about 8 miles south of St. Louis, the AP reports. The railroad said initial information indicates that the tank car that first caught fire contains a flammable liquid called methyl isobutyl ketone that is typically used as a solvent. Union Pacific spokeswoman Kristen South said the smoke from the fire does not pose a significant health hazard. But Dupo Police said as a precaution that students at a grade school, junior high school, and high school were evacuated to a high school farther away.

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Police also said a few hundred residents of a mobile home park and a subdivision near the tracks were also evacuated. Video showed more than 10 train cars derailed and flames shooting from the wreckage. By about 3pm, officials said the fire had been extinguished and the people who were evacuated had been allowed to return to their homes. St. Clair County Emergency Management Director Herb Simmons said there were no injuries reported. He also said the investigation into the derailment was continuing, including liquid leaking from some of the derailed cars.

(Read more train accident stories.)

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