A fire sparked by the derailment of a freight train hauling ethanol through rural northwest Iowa continued to burn strong nearly 15 hours later. It appears not to be leaking any significant amounts of ethanol into a creek at the site, an Iowa environmental official said Friday (March 10).
“There was a pretty big explosion about 45 minutes ago” at the site of the fire, Iowa Department of Natural Resources field office supervisor Ken Hessenius said around 3:15 p.m. Friday. “No one can get within about a third of a mile of the fire yet. It’s still pretty dangerous there.”
The train derailed and burst into flames around 1 a.m. Friday as it crossed a trestle bridge over Jack Creek that empties into the Des Moines River. It happened near the small community of Graettinger, about 160 miles northwest of Des Moines. Two train crew members escaped unharmed and no injuries have been reported.