A cargo train derailed in an Illinois suburb of St. Louis on September 10 and caused a fire. The authorities evacuated the local area nearby, including several homes and Dupo High School. The train was reportedly carrying a flammable liquid that is used in solvents. The train derailed around 12:45 p.m local time causing a thick black smoke into the air that prompted the evacuation. The local emergency crew reportedly fought to control the fire.
The Union Pacific claimed that the train derailed at its yard which is about 14 kilometers south of St. Louis. According to the reports, more than a dozen train cars were derailed. The flammable liquid which caused the fire contained methyl isobutyl ketone. The smoke caused by the burning train could be seen from miles away. St. Clair County Emergency Management, the agency which was dealing with the incident said that there were no injuries reported.
Kristen South, Union Pacific Spokeswoman claimed that the smoke caused by the fire does not pose a health hazard but as a precaution, the nearby high schools and houses were evacuated. The local police also reported that few residents of a mobile home park and a subdivision near the tracks were also evacuated. Electricity was also cut off to the East Carondelet community due to high tension lines above the fire. According to the officials, the fire had been extinguished by about 3 p.m.
According to the National Transportation Safety Bureau, every two hours a person or a vehicle is hit by a train in the US. Every year thousands of people are killed in train accidents and almost every two weeks a train is derailed, which leads to chemical spills. The occurrence of train accidents in the US has been increasing every year. There are also thousands of train-car crashes each year which occurs mostly at railroad crossings.