SMITHBORO, Ill. -- About 200 residents returned to their homes Monday, ending an evacuation made necessary because of hazardous liquid and gas spilled from two derailed railroad tank cars.
No injuries were reported, but one volunteer firefighter was treated for a headache after she breathed noxious fumes while aiding in the evacuation.
Wayne Moore, who is the mayor and the fire chief, said one invalid woman had been permitted to stay in her home during the evacuation, which began Sunday afternoon. He said an ambulance had been ready to move her if needed.
Moore said the derailment Sunday of 22 cars of an 84-car Conrail freight train was traced to a failed wheel bearing on one of the cars. The train, eastbound from St. Louis to Enola, Pa., was pulled by four diesels.
The wreckage included a punctured tank car that leaked its entire load of dichlorodifluro-methane, a nonflammable gas used as a refrigerant. It could cause a burn if touched, an Emergency Services and Disaster Agency spokesman said.
Conrail spokesman Bob Libkind said a second derailed car leaked about 30 gallons of a 5,700 gallon load of phosphorus-oxychloride, which escaped as a vapor.
Two other derailed tank cars contained toxic nitro-chlorobenzene, a poison, and diclorodifluro-methane, a refrigerant, but neither leaked, authorities said.
'There were two loads of new Fords that were derailed,' said Moore. He estimated the automobile loss at from $160,000 to $180,000.
More said traffic was restored Monday on a temporary track.