More than three years later, impact of derailment near Galena st - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

More than three years later, impact of derailment near Galena still felt

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GALENA, Ill. (KWWL) -

It was three years and one week ago today that 21 train cars went off the rails just a few miles south of Galena, Ill.

Eight of the cars, which were carrying crude oil, burst into flames, sending fireballs and smoke hurtling through the air.

The response was swift, as agencies from all over the area came to help.

But it was a scenario they didn't expect and weren't quite ready for.

"It was a wake up call for us," said Chuck Pederson, Jo Daviess County's emergency manager.

Pederson and his crew were on scene for ten days dealing with the disaster.  Cleanup  and reconstruction of the area of the area took much longer.

That derailment changed the way Pederson and other local agencies do business.

"Hazards come about, and we make sure that we know what to do. We've become much more aware. Training is a big part, drill is a big part. You just have to be up on everything and work together," Pederson said.

They've also worked to strengthen relationships with neighboring counties--many of them who were a big help during the derailment three years ago.

"We have a network of knowing each other and what we can provide for each other. So it's all working together, and communications is a big part."

In addition to those measures, Pederson says they've also installed a county-wide code red system, opened up social media accounts to better communicate with the community, and formed private and public coalitions to better tap into the resources available in the area.

Pederson says they're much more prepared for a disaster like this now, but hopes they never have to put those preparations into action.

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