A TRAIN in Iowa derailed and exploded on Sunday afternoon, causing evacuations in the area after some 30 train cars piled up.
The train was carrying fertilizer and ammonium nitrate, highly flammable substances. Parts of Sibley within a five-mile radius of the explosion are under an evacuation order.
As the fire is sending plumes of smoke and chemicals into the air, a nearby nursing home and hospital are reportedly being evacuated.
Sibley has a population of about 3,000.
Nate Minten of Sibley posted a video of the smoke rising on his Facebook page.
“I could see smoke filling up a couple hundred feet at least,” Minten said. “We didn’t hear any bangs or anything.”
The train reportedly derailed around 2 pm on Sunday. Minten said he could still see smoke as of 4:30 pm.
The superintendent of a local community school district, Jamie Craig, said he was at the district’s commencement ceremony when the explosion happened.
Craig told the Des Moines Register that he had his staff on standby in case a full evacuation was needed.
“I’m in my house getting prepared in case of evacuation," Craig said. "Our transportation director and bus drivers are on standby in case of need to help."
Fire departments from multiple neighboring towns responded to the scene.
It is unknown if there are any injuries or fatalities related to the incident.
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