Thursday, March 5, 2015

Evacuations underway as railcars burn near Galena, Illinois


Flames burst through black smoke from a train derailment near Galena, Ill., this afternoon.

Evacuations underway as railcars burn near Galena

TH MEDIA   March 5, 2015  
GALENA, Ill. — At least eight railcars derailed this afternoon south of Galena, sparking a massive fire and smoke that can be seen for miles.

Galena Assistant Fire Chief Bob Conley said fire crews responded to reports of a derailment three miles south of the city at about 1:50 p.m. He said because of the intensity of the fire, they are allowing it to burn itself out.

The railroad company, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, said in an email statement that the derailment occurred at about 1:20 p.m. near where the Galena River meets the Mississippi River.  

BNSF said the train has 105 cars, 103 of which were carrying crude oil. The other two cars were buffer cars loaded with sand. A release from the Jo Daviess County Sheriff's Department confirmed it was Bakken crude oil......

...Conley said firefighters had to access the derailment site via a city bike trail. He said two cars were smoking when they arrived on scene and they attempted to fight a small fire among the cars but were unable to stop the flames.....

...Fire department Capt. Brett Temperly said crews had to evacuate quickly and left a substantial amount of equipment behind.

“We left about $10,000 worth of equipment behind,” he said. “We can replace equipment, not manpower.”

The wreck site is a fairly isolated location, according to Conley. Early reports from firefighters indicated no evacuations of residents were necessary, but a press release from the Jo Daviess County Sheriff's Department sent just after 6 p.m. said the sheriff's department was in the process of evacuating homes within one mile of the derailment site.....  more here

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