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Massive Illinois train derailment sparks chemical fire, numerous evacuations

11 September 2019

Tuesday's derailment sparked a massive fire in a train yard near Dupo that sent a dark plume of smoke in the sky that could be seen for miles.

The St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency in IL revealed on Facebook that officials will remain on the scene "for an extended period resolving this incident".

It is not clear what the train was transporting or if there are any injuries.

The frightening incident occurred at around 12:45 p.m. and caused a tank auto to catch fire, Kristen M. South, a representative for Union Pacific tells PEOPLE.

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KMOV-TV posted video showing more than 10 train cars derailed and flames shooting from the wreckage.

Union Pacific apologized for the accident and the "impact" it had caused.

One witness said heard a loud bang and then saw a fireball go up at the rail yard in the Tuesday afternoon incident, according to KMOV4.

Schools in the Dupo School District were also evacuated and students and staff were transported to Columbia High School. "Initial information indicates the tank auto contained a flammable liquid called methyl isobutyl ketone, which is typically used as a solvent", South explains.

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A local community center was opened where about 40 people took refuge.

Union Pacific workers and firefighters stage at the scene of a tanker fire from a derailed train near downtown Dupo, Ill. on Tuesday, Sept. 10.

Authorities said they are not aware of any injuries at the moment. Our yard and nearby intermodal ramp were safely evacuated.

It's highly flammable and can cause explosions. The heavy smoke is reportedly visible in St. Louis, which is about 15 minutes away from Dupo.

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Massive Illinois train derailment sparks chemical fire, numerous evacuations