Group Calls For Change After Nearby Train Derailment

A fire sparked by the derailment of a freight train hauling ethanol through rural northwest Iowa was still burning almost 15 hours later. Knudson said investigators will do some limited work, including interviewing train crew members.

Environmental experts were checking for ethanol leaks Friday after a freight train derailed and burst into flames as it crossed a trestle bridge over a northwest Iowa creek that empties into the Des Moines River.

The Graettinger Fire Department was page to the scene and established a perimeter with assistance from the Palo Alto County Sheriff's Office, Emmetsburg Fire Department and Graettinger Ambulance Service. The tanker cars were full of ethanol. Nearby residents were asked to evacuate the area and no injuries have been reported.

Local officials from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources collected water samples from the creek for testing, the sheriff's office said. The tank cars were DOT 111 models, which the NTSB has long criticized as puncture-prone and unfit for USA rails.

"Union Pacific officials were able to detach approximately 74 loaded tankers and removed them from the derailment site", Schultes said.

The train left Green Plains Inc's Superior, Iowa, facility, a company spokesperson said.

GRAETTINGER - A train derailment and subsequent fire early Friday morning have federal investigators descending on Palo Alto County to figure out the cause.

Peter Knudson with the NTSB says that two tankers carrying ethanol were still burning today, keeping investigators away from the site in northwestern Iowa.

A news release from the NTSB said initial reports indicated the rail cars that derailed Friday are older, less sturdy tanks.

  • Zachary Reyes