Freight train derails in northern Iowa hauling ammonium nitrate

Don Johnson

May 17 (UPI) -- A fire from a derailed freight train in northern Iowa continued to burn on Monday and some people are still away from their homes after officials ordered an evacuation.

The Union Pacific train derailed Sunday near the town of Sibley, which has a population of about 3,000 and is located 200 miles northwest of Des Moines. Sibley is about 7 miles south of the Iowa-Minnesota border.


A large plume of black smoke rising from dozens of train cars could be seen in aerial video of the crash scene. Authorities said the train's fuel appears to have caught fire during the derailment. The train cars were carrying ammonium nitrate.

A 5-mile radius was evacuated due to concern about the ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive chemical compound used to make fertilizers and explosives.

Authorities said there were no injuries. About 80 people were evacuated.

Union Pacific Railroad said in a statement that 47 cars derailed. The cause is under investigation.

The derailment was the second in the Midwest over the weekend. About 28 cars of a Union Pacific train derailed in southern Minnesota on Saturday.

Two cars leaked hydrochloric acid and authorities issued a precautionary shelter in place alert for the surrounding area.


Authorities said Sunday there was no danger to the public.

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