DUPO, Ill. – Union Pacific crews spent Wednesday cleaning up a massive train derailment in Dupo.
Thirteen cars derailed at a train yard in the 300 block of Main Street Tuesday afternoon, causing a huge fire. Nearby schools and three subdivisions were evacuated.
Thick, black smoke could be seen billowing high into the air. Some of the cars were carrying a chemical solvent. Fuel spilled from the train, forcing evacuations of nearby businesses and schools.
“Our first responders here in St. Clair County they train weekly for incidents like this they hope they never have to use it but their training all paid off yesterday,” said Herb Simmons, director of the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency.
The Dupo school superintendent and city leaders said their emergency plan worked.
“We meet on an annual basis and revise all of our crisis plans. Those meetings help put plans in motion fairly seamless for us,” said Superintendent Kelly Carpenter, District Dupo Community 196.
The cleanup is expected to take several weeks as Union Pacific work to remove the cars. When finished, crews will inspect the track and make any necessary repairs.
“They have their construction crews here removing the derailed cars and the contractor approved by EPA to get a plan together to find out the process they did tell me this will be a two-week process,” Simmons said.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation. Union Pacific apologized to the community for the local impact.