UPDATE: all fires out; first train could run late Sunday - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: all fires out; first train could run late Sunday

Posted: Updated:
Courtesy Time and Space Photography Courtesy Time and Space Photography
Courtesy Time and Space Photography Courtesy Time and Space Photography
Courtesy KWQC reporter Mark Stevens Courtesy KWQC reporter Mark Stevens
  • KWWL.com LinksMore>>

  • Dubuque News

    Dubuque News

    Local news and information for Dubuque, Dyersville, Epworth, Peosta, Cascade, Farley, Asbury, Balltown, Luxemburg, New Vienna, Holy Cross, Durango, Sherrill, Dubuque County and the Tri-States area.More >>
    Local news and information for Dubuque, Dyersville, Epworth, Peosta, Cascade, Farley, Asbury, Balltown, Luxemburg, New Vienna, Holy Cross, Durango, Sherrill, Dubuque County and the Tri-States area.More >>
GALENA, Ill. (KWWL) - In BNSF's final update released Sunday, all fires are extinguished and one car is left to move off to the side for trans-loading.

BNSF will begin repairing the location with hopes of running the first train late Sunday evening.

The investigation continues into the probable cause of the derailment. Upon completion, results will be available on the FRA's website at www.fra.dot.gov.

The EPA is continuing to monitor air and water quality.

KWWL's Ally Crutcher contributed to this report.

------------------------------


Statement from BNSF reads as follows:

Work to remove the derailed cars at the site of the BNSF Railway derailment, which occurred in a rural area south of Galena, Ill., is nearing completion.

Due to its remote location and soft ground in the area, a temporary road is being built to allow heavy equipment to re-rail cars and remove crude oil from the scene. Additionally, the three small remaining fires will be extinguished by a foam truck once the temporary road is complete. Of the 21 cars that were derailed, six cars have been re-railed. Two more cars are expected to be re-railed later today. The remaining cars will be removed from the scene via truck. 

Once the scene is cleared, BNSF currently anticipates that its mainline track can be operational on Monday, March 9, 2015.

As the clean-up process proceeds, BNSF continues to find no evidence of oil in the nearby waterways due to the derailment. Air quality monitoring is also continuing.              

The cause of the derailment is still under investigation. BNSF Railway employees continue to assist local and federal officials. 

KWWL's Ally Crutcher contributed to this report.

-----------------------------

SATURDAY MORNING UPDATE:

According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Emergency Response Team did not have to explode the leaking car as previously expected due to the pressure relief valve closing. This stopped the leak of the product, and the fire department was able to extinguish the fire.

BNSF will begin pumping out the remaining product Saturday.

Currently, there are two cars on fire, a controlled burn at this time.

The FRA is at the derailment location and will monitor the clearing process as it progresses.

The cause of the derailment is still under investigation.

EPA is on site monitoring the air and water quality. As of Friday night, there were no signs of product in the water.

KWWL's Ally Crutcher contributed to this report.
 
---------------------------------

Because they're running out of room to store the water, train officials and emergency responders are allowing an explosion and "controlled burn" of one of the still-burning train cars filled with crude oil.

Kevin Turner, Jo Daviess County Sheriff, said one of the burning rail cars was being kept cool with a constant stream of water onto the car. However, a containment pond that was keeping that water/crude oil mixture is nearing capacity.

Thus, officials will stop the flow of water, "retreat to a safe distance" and allow a "heat-induced tear" in the burning car, according to Turner.

This will likely lead to an explosion of that car and possibly others in the area, according to a source with the Federal Railroad Administration who did not want to be named because the information was preliminary.

Turner said it was the safest option both from a public safety standpoint and an environmental one.

The official from the FRA also noted the train was traveling at 23 miles per hour when the derailment occurred. Eleven investigators from that department were on scene and were able to access the scene for four hours on Friday.The full, unedited statement from Jo Daviess County Sheriff Kevin Turner:

---------------------------------

In coordination and consultation among BNSF Railway, Galena Fire Department, Jo Daviess County Sheriff's Office, and emergency responders, a joint unified command decision has been made to allow a heat-induced tear of a breached tank car to proceed to a “controlled burn.” This strategy is the safest option for public safety and will ensure there is no impact to the waterways in the area from crude oil that has been slowly released from a breached tank car since yesterday.

The breached, burning tank car is being kept cool with the application of water onto the tank car. However, the containment pond for the sprayed water is near its limit and an overflow of the pond creates the potential for contamination of the area waterways.

Fire responders will retreat to a safe distance after water is no longer sprayed on the burning tank car. The cessation of water being sprayed onto the tank will lead to a heat-induced tear of the already-breached tank car, thereby protecting the waterway and burning off the crude oil that is escaping from the tank car.

BNSF will continue air monitoring to ensure communities are protected.

Kevin Turner

Jo Daviess County Sheriff

------------------------

PREVIOUS STORY:

Air and water samples were being taken Friday, but results might not be available for several days as a crude oil fire continues to burn following a train derailment near Galena.

BNSF Railway says 21 cars derailed south of Galena Thursday, five cars carrying crude oil caught fire and that fire continues to burn in two of those cars.

BNSF spokesman Andy Williams says the cause of the derailment is still under investigation and the company is working closely with the Federal Railroad Administration.

The company says it will also address any environmental impacts the incident has caused.

"We are grateful for the efforts of first responders and sincerely regret any impact this has to the community," Williams said.

He said residents may call BNSF at 309-335-2968 for information or assistance.

"We want to stress that no oil has reached the waterway that we are aware of," Williams said, noting they put up booms and inspected the area Thursday night.

The rail cars were model number CPC 1232.

Two tanker cars are still actively burning, and officials said the safest course of action was to "let them burn off." Officials weren't exactly sure how long it would take to burn out because they didn't know how much crude was left in the cars.

EPA spokesman Jaime Brown said his department were in the process of taking water samples. He said typically it takes two weeks for the lab results to come back with those results.

Another official said there were "no known impacts" to the Mississippi River or watershed "at this time."

As far as air monitoring, it would take 3-7 days for results from particulates and other matter in the air. Officials said "nothing in the air" was concerning as of Friday.

The full, unedited statement from BNSF Railway from Friday at 11 a.m. is below:

-----------------------------
A BNSF Railway train originating from North Dakota derailed on BNSF's mainline track at approximately 1:20 p.m. CST on March 5, 2015 in a rural area south of Galena, IL. There are no injuries reported. The train consists of 105 loaded cars, which includes 103 cars loaded with crude oil and 2 buffer cars loaded with sand. A total of 21 cars derailed. An initial pool fire occurred that we believe impacted 5 rail cars and that fire continues to burn. Local, state and BNSF Railway emergency personnel are on the scene working to contain the incident. BNSF personnel arrived soon after the event occurred to be part of the response.

Protection of the communities we serve, the safety of our employees and protection of the environment are our highest priorities. We are guided by these priorities as we respond to this situation. We continue to be unaware of any injuries. Local officials have announced a voluntary evacuation of an area that is within one mile of the incident. We are grateful for the efforts of the first responders at this incident and sincerely regret the inconvenience this event has caused to the community.

The cause of the derailment is still under investigation. We are still in the early stages of this effort and will continue working closely with the Federal Railroad Administration as to the cause. All tank cars involved in the incident were the unjacketed CPC-1232 model with half-height head shields.

BNSF has established a claims center at the Country Inn in Galena, IL (11334 Oldenburg Ln) to help and assist local residents who may have incurred damage to their property or are in need of temporary relocation. Residents may also call 309-335-2968 for information or assistance. BNSF continues to take precautionary measures to protect the waterways in the area and continues to conduct air quality monitoring. BNSF will address any environmental impacts.

As we are able to share more information, we will issue additional statements.

-----------------------------------------------

Jerry Gallagher contributed to this report.

--------------------------

PREVIOUS STORY:


Two railroad cars filled with crude oil that exploded in fire during a derailment were still burning Friday, and railroad officials said the plan was to let them burn themselves out.

BNSF crews on scene about 3.6 miles south of Galena, Illinois, said they don't believe the fire will spread beyond those two cars on fire, officials said in a news update Thursday night.

They also don't know the cause of the derailment or what environmental damage the derailment or fire will cause.

The City of Galena said six homes were evacuated.

Another news update will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Galena City Hall. KWWL will be there.

The full, unedited statement from BSNF Railway from Thursday at 9 p.m. is below:

----------------------------------

A BNSF Railway train originating from North Dakota derailed at approximately 1:20 p.m. CST in a rural area south of Galena, IL. There are no injuries reported. The train consists of 105 loaded cars, which includes 103 cars loaded with crude oil and 2 buffer cars loaded with sand.

At this time, we do not know the cause of the derailment. In addition to the railroad employees currently on the scene, additional BNSF personnel arrived soon after the event occurred to be part of the response. BNSF is working with local responders and has notified the Federal Railroad Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board of the incident. BNSF also promptly notified various local and state officials from Illinois and Iowa.

Protection of the communities we serve, the safety of our employees and protection of the environment are our highest priorities. We are guided by these priorities as we respond to this situation. We continue to be unaware of any injuries. Local officials have announced a voluntary evacuation of an area that is within one mile of the incident. We are grateful for the efforts of the first responders at this incident and sincerely regret the inconvenience this event has caused to the community.

BNSF will establish a claims center at the site of the incident to help and assist local residents who may have incurred damage to their property or are in need of temporary relocation. The tank cars involved in the incident were the CPC-1232 model that were unjacketed with half-height head shields. BNSF is also taking precautionary measures to protect the waterways in the area and will conduct air quality monitoring.

As we are able to share more information, we will issue additional statements.

----------------------------------

Brad Hanson and Bob Waters contributed to this report.

---------------------

PREVIOUS STORY:

Authorities were evacuating a one-mile radius around the site of a train derailment as railroad cars continued to actively burn crude oil.

The train, carrying more than 100 cars of crude oil, derailed Thursday in Illinois, and smoke from the burning crude could be seen for miles.

A BNSF Railway train carrying 103 cars of crude oil and 2 "buffer cars" loaded with sand derailed at 1:20 p.m. Thursday just south of Galena, Illinois, according to a statement from BNSF.

The Jo Daviess County Sheriff's Office got a report from BNSF at approximately 1:50 p.m. of the derailment, according to the sheriff's office -- 30 minutes after the derailment happened.No injuries were reported, according to BNSF.

Crude oil continued actively burning at the site from at least two rail cars, according to the sheriff's office.

Grant County, Wisconsin, hazardous materials responders were at the scene, as were fire departments from Galena, East Dubuque and Menominee-Dunleith, Illinois, according to the TH. Representatives from BNSF were also on scene, according to the sheriff's office.

-----------------

Related links:

Where are the railroads in Iowa? Map: http://www.iowadot.gov/iowarail/railroads/maps/servicehighways.pdf

How much freight do they carry on each Iowa railway? Map: http://www.iowadot.gov/iowarail/railroads/maps/Density.pdf
Powered by Frankly