Thick black smoke billowed into the air Sunday after a train derailed in northwest Iowa, prompting authorities to evacuate part of a small, nearby town.

By Associated Press

A train derailed in northwest Iowa on Sunday afternoon sending thick plumes of smoke and flames shooting into the sky.

The Union Pacific freight train. which consisted of about 30 cars derailed in Sibley, a small city of about 3,000 close to Sioux Falls, South Dakota

The large blaze sent clouds of smoke in to the air which could be seen for miles around. 

The train derailment happened over a bridge that collapsed which saw the train split in two on different sides of the bridge. 

The train was carrying fertilizer and ammonium nitrate which can explode

The incident also forced part of the town to be evacuated with authorities recommending anyone within a five mile radius to leave.

Fire departments from the neighboring towns of Ashton, Little Rock, Melvin, Ocheyedan, and Sheldon were all sent to the scene. 

Train Derailment

Sibley Fire Chief Ken Huls said the train was carrying the fertilizer and explosive ammonium nitrate. 

The common chemical compound used to make fertilizers is highly explosive. 

Train carrying fertilizer & highly explosive ammonium nitrate derails in Iowa

According to the Osceola County dispatcher, the area around the derailment was being evacuated. 

Hazmat teams were also called in to assist with the situation. 

RAW VIDEO: Massive smoke cloud after Iowa train wreck

It wasn’t immediately certain if there were any injuries or fatalities. 

Jamie Craig, superintendent of the Sibley-Ocheyedan Community School District, was at the district’s commencement ceremony when the derailment happened and saw the Sibley fire chief leave early. 

Some of the staff were on standby around 5pm in case a full evacuation was needed.

‘I’m in my house getting prepared in case of evacuation,’ Craig said to the Des Moines Register. ‘Our transportation director and bus drivers are on standby in case of need to help.’




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