TISKILWA, IL – Scorched earth and frayed nerves followed a fiery train derailment on Friday, October 7, 2011 where several tanker cars tipped over, exploded and burst into flames in Tiskilwa, IL.
Tiskilwa is located in Bureau County, Illinois in the north-central part of the state about 124 miles southwest of Chicago, 84 miles southwest of Aurora, 82 miles northwest of Bloomington and about 52 miles northeast of Peoria.
The incident happened around 2:00 a.m. in the morning on Friday when the Iowa Interstate Railroad train derailed just east of Tiskilwa. Residents reported that they heard explosions going off one after another as tanker cars filled with ethanol exploded.
The scene was a massive pileup of rail cars that slammed into each other. At least 26 cars jumped the tracks in the mishap. Nine of the tankers were carrying ethanol. One tanker car has the capacity carry 29,000 gallons of ethanol.
The ethanol ignited, creating several explosions and a burning inferno that lasted well through the night and into the next day. The heat and flames were so intense that firefighters had to suppress the flames with foam and water all night long. The blaze was contained by mid morning on the 7th.
Tiskilwa is a small town of 800 residents. They were evacuated early Friday morning as a precaution. Fortunately, the mishap took place about a mile outside of town. It could have been a lot worse had it occurred in town or closer. Residents were allowed to return to their homes late Friday night.
Fortunately, no railroad workers were injured and there were no reports of any burn injuries. There was a crew of two onboard, the train’s conductor and the engineer. They had paperwork with information about the cargo that they gave to first responders.
The 131 car train was on its way to Chicago from Rock Island, IL on the eastern border of Illinois. Several of the rail cars carrying ethanol were ADM tankers (Archer Daniels Midland company). Hazmat (hazardous material) investigators were on the scene along with officials from the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) and the Illinois Commerce Commission.
The cause of the derailment is not known at this time but it is currently under investigation.
FELA Lawyer News Blog is a FELA, train accident and personal injury blog that publishes up to date train accidents and FELA legal news from across the United States. The Federal Employers ‘Liability Act, (FELA) allows injured railroad workers to recover compensation based on the negligence of the railroad company, in lieu of workers’ compensation. FELA defines negligence as the railroad company’s failure to use reasonable care.