Family decides not to evacuate after train derailment - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Family decides not to evacuate after train derailment

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Evacuations remain in place tonight near Galena as a huge fire from a train derailment continues to burn.  BNSF Railway says at least one car filled with crude oil continues to burn as firefighting efforts are hampered due to running out of room to store water to fight the blaze.  The fire began yesterday around 1:30 p.m., as 21 cars derailed along the tracks near a bluff south of the junction with the Galena River.  It sent a huge fireball with smoke that could be seen for miles as the crude oil burned yesterday and into the night.  

That huge cloud of smoke we saw from miles away yesterday is no longer there.  In fact, you could be pretty close to the derailment and not see it because there's not much smoke to be seen.  Still, it's caused voluntary evacuations to be recommended tonight for about a mile near the derailment - which is a very sparsely area. 

The Schultz family lives closest to the site.  In fact, it's at the edge of their land.  But they have remained in their home.  Sandra Schultz, their 13-year-old daughter who has asthma, lives with them. While some of their neighbors chose to leave, they say they're not worried about the fire causing an issue for them.

"They said they were worried with the propane tanks would explode so they recommended we evacuate but again since it's down below the bluff and if there was an explosion," said John Schultz.  "I didn't feel we were in any significant danger and I wanted to be here if my cattle decided they didn't like the noise." 

Schultz says there hasn't been any issues with smell or smoke problems.  They say they are concerned about a nearby artisan well that they'll have tested. 

Railroad officials say they still don't know what caused the derailment.  They say the train was going 23 miles per hour at the time.  Right now, crews have retreated to what they say is a safe distance while the burning car has a heat-induced tear, which they say is the safest option from both a public safety and environmental standpoint.

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