The Latest: Experts check for ethanol leaks after derailment - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Fire at Iowa train derailment still burning

Posted: Updated:

A fiery train derailment in rural Iowa has at least one group suggesting that the industry should move faster to upgrade aging rail tankers.

A Union Pacific train hauling 100 tankers full of ethanol derailed early Friday over a creek near Graettinger, about 160 miles northwest of Des Moines.

It sent 27 tanker cars off the tracks.

Federal rules enacted in 2015 call for replacing or retrofitting the tankers in question by 2029, although most would have to come off the tracks sooner.

Karen Darch, co-chair of an Illinois-based coalition that has pushed for rail safety enhancements, says she would like "to see the industry stepping up and beating the deadline."

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

An investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board says an ethanol-fueled fire in northwestern Iowa at the site of rural train derailment is still burning nearly 36 hours after it erupted.
   Peter Knudson with the NTSB says that two tankers carrying ethanol were still burning midmorning Saturday, keeping investigators away from the site. Knudson said investigators still planned to interview train crew members Saturday and perform other limited investigation until they can take a look at the site.
   The derailment occurred around 1 a.m. Friday near Graettinger, about 160 miles northwest of Des Moines. It sent 27 tanker cars, each carrying 25,000 gallons of ethanol, off the tracks. Two crew members escaped unharmed, and no other injuries had been reported.
   The train was operated by Omaha-based Union Pacific Railroad.

************************

GRAETTINGER, Iowa (AP) - The Latest on the fiery derailment of a freight train in northwest Iowa (all times local):

12:15 p.m.

Environmental experts are checking for ethanol leaks after a fiery freight train derailment in northwest Iowa, while fire officials are allowing the blaze to burn itself out.

The Palo Alto County Sheriff's Office says the derailment occurred 1 a.m. Friday, near Graettinger (GREHT'-ihn-jur).

Iowa Natural Resources field office supervisor Ken Hessenius (Heh-SEHN'-ee-uhs) says he doesn't yet know if any ethanol leaked from the 27 tanker cars that derailed. Each carries about 25,000 gallons.

County emergency manager Mark Hunefeld (HUH'-nee-fehld) says it appears that five of the derailed cars fell into a creek. The creek flows through relatively flat farm fields and empties a few miles downstream into the Des Moines River.

10:20 a.m.

A spokeswoman for an ethanol producer says a train that derailed and burst into flames in northwestern Iowa was carrying ethanol from that company's plant.

Green Plains Inc. spokeswoman Sasha Forsen says the tank cars were filled with ethanol at a Green Plains plant in Superior, Iowa. She declined to say where the train was headed. Green Plains is based in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Palo Alto County Sheriff's Office says the derailment occurred 1 a.m. Friday, near Graettinger (GREHT'-ihn-jur), about 20 miles southeast of Superior. It says two crew members escaped unharmed. No injuries have been reported. Residents are evacuating the area.

Palo Alto County emergency management director Mark Hunefeld (HUH'-nee-fehld) says at least 27 of 101 cars derailed.

9:50 a.m.

Authorities say several fuel tank cars are burning after a freight train, possibly carrying ethanol, derailed in northwestern Iowa.

The Palo Alto County Sheriff's Office says the derailment occurred 1 a.m. Friday, near Graettinger (GREHT'-ihn-jur), about 160 miles northwest of Des Moines. It says two crew members escaped unharmed. No injuries have been reported.

The office says the train was carrying alcohol from an ethanol plant. It didn't elaborate.

Palo Alto County emergency management director Mark Hunefeld (HUH'-nee-fehld) says at least 27 of 101 cars derailed, including the burning tanks that he believes were loaded with ethanol.

Residents are evacuating the area.

Company spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza has confirmed it's a Union Pacific train.

National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Keith Holloway says the agency will investigate the cause of the derailment.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by Frankly