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Southern Illinois Train Derailment

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Southern Illinois Train Derailment
By: Heartland News & Associated Press

4:25pm Update:  According to a local emergency management spokesman, evacuees will be allowed to return to their homes Monday evening.

Union Pacific spokesman James Barnes says 15,000 to 18,000 gallons of a lubricant spilled during the train derailment.  One of the three train cars did contain a hazardous material, however, none of the material escaped the car.

Union Pacific will have representatives in Christopher Monday night to answer any questions.  Union Pacific has also set up a phone line to deal with questions.  (314) 331-0673

Union Pacific plans to have the rail line and rail services running back to normal by noon Tuesday.

The cause of the derailment is still under investigation.

12pm Monday:

CHRISTOPHER, Il. --Officials with the state and US Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) are at the scene of a chemical leak in Southern Illinois that sent about a dozen people to area hospitals.

The train derailment happened around 2:30am Monday morning.

Franklin County Emergency Management Director Ryan Buckingham says three of the 21 cars that derailed are leaking material.  A Union Pacific spokesperson tells Heartland News that the chemical leaking is a type of detergent that is hazardous and can cause difficulty breathing.

Tracey Karnes of Mercy Regional Health Services says 14 people were taken to hospitals with mild symptoms, including irritation of the throat, eyes and nose. The victims included residents and emergency responders. Karnes didn't think any injuries were serious enough to require hospitalization.

"There was kind of a smell in the air. It had a metallic taste, but kind of made the back of your throat burn a little bit, kind of scratchy," Brian Mosley, 19, said at a Red Cross shelter after being examined at a hospital. He and his grandparents live about 150 yards from derailment site.

The chemical leak caused 72 homes to be evacuated in the Mitchell Lake area.  School is canceled at Ziegler-Royalton today.  The school is located appox. 1 mile from the accident.

Yellow Banks Road is closed from Illinois 148 to the Orient Blacktop.

The Union Pacific train was traveling from Houston to Chicago.  The train was carrying 83 cars and two locomotives.

 

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press & KFVS-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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