A freight train derailment in north-central Illinois has forced authorities to evacuate the entire Tiskilwa town due to massive explosions in the area.
According to the Bureau County sheriff’s office, the freight train derailed early Friday in the town of Tiskilwa.
Captain Steve Haywood from Ottawa Fire Department says the train’s tanker cars were carrying ethanol being shipped by Decatur-based corn processor Archer Daniels Midland.
He told the Chicago Tribune that at least six of the 112 freight train cars were on fire, and officials are fearful of liquid vapor explosions.
Many of the town’s residents were holing up inside the Indian Valley Inn restaurant.
The Indian Valley Inn restaurant owner, Mike McComber, told the Chicago Tribune:
“It’s a mess. A quarter to a half mile of cars derailed. Many of them are on fire.”
“Every time one of them explodes, it sounds like a bomb is going off. Three have gone off so far.”
Another witness, Amanda Knight told the Chicago Sun-Times that the train derailed about 500 feet from her home.
Amanda Knight said: “There’s a lot of fire and big flames. It sounds like a jet coming over the town. That’s all I can compare it to.”
There’s no information yet on any injuries.
According to authorities, theTiskilwa town’s evacuees are being taken to Princeton High School.
The freight train was operated by Iowa Interstate Railroad. A dispatcher with the railroad said company officials were headed to the scene Friday.
Tiskilwa is a village of about 800 people that’s located about 100 miles west of Chicago.