September 12, 2019: Union Pacific Train Derailment and Fire Leads to Evacuation in Dupo, Ill.

A Union Pacific freight train derailed in Dupo, Illinois on Tuesday afternoon causing local residents and schools to be evacuated. The accident occurred around 12:45 pm near the 300 block of Main Street. The evacuation order came after one of the rail cars that contained methyl isobutyl ketone, a flammable liquid, burst into flames.
Witnesses claim to hear the sound of metal crunching and railcars breaking before the fire erupted. Patrick Wilson, a local resident who works near the site of the accident, said “I was just standing out here working and seen a giant fireball out of the corner of my eye and I looked over and saw smoke billowing and then it started spreading down the tracks about five minutes after that. It sounded like it jumped off at first. You could hear the brakes and then it was all just boom, boom, boom after that and then the fireball.”
Union Pacific released the following statement: “Around 12:45 p.m., approximately 14 rail cars derailed in Union Pacific’s Dupo Yard near Carondelet Avenue between Main and Adams Road. No injuries have been reported. At the time of the derailment, a train was being built for departure; however, the exact cause remains under investigation. As a result of the derailment, a tank car caught fire. Initial information indicates that the tank car contained a flammable liquid called methyl isobutyl ketone, which is typically used as a solvent.
The fire was extinguished around 3:15 p.m. Following an air quality test, area evacuations were lifted at approximately 3:45 p.m. Out of an abundance of caution, CTEH, our environmental contractor, will continue to monitor air quality downwind and southwind at least 5 miles from the yard until further notice.
Union Pacific apologizes to the community for the impact this has caused. We’d also like to thank the first responders who put out the fire and helped with the evacuation. Union Pacific’s Hazmat personnel will remain on scene until remediation is complete.
Right now, we are working to remove the cars. Once that is finished, we will inspect the track and make any necessary repairs. We anticipate this being completed by early tomorrow.”
The evacuation order was lifted at 4:oo pm and residents were permitted to return home. There were no injuries reported but around 400 residents were without power due to the incident. Union Pacific said they are “working closely with Emergency Management and Railroad officials so we can restore power as quickly and safely as possible.”

Train derailment leads to huge fire and evacuations; smoke seen for miles