Residents in the small town of Sibley, Iowa, were forced to evacuate from their homes after a train carrying fertilizer and ammonium nitrate derailed on Sunday (May 16).
47 train cars came off the track as the diesel fuel sparked a massive fire. Officials said that nobody was hurt in the derailment.
There were concerns that the train could explode, prompting officials to ask people within a five-mile radius to leave their homes and others to shelter in place due to the fumes from the thick black smoke.
"We are asking residents to shelter in place in their homes," said Mike Schulte, Osceola County Supervisor. "It's recommended that they leave windows open on both sides of the house and be positioned in the middle of their homes. this is just a preventive safety measure."
Authorities said that the derailment was caused by a bridge collapse, but officials from Union Pacific said they are still investigating the incident.
Sibley residents could see the billowing smoke from miles away and were shocked to learn that it was caused by a train derailing.
"Coming from a small town, you know, nothing ever happens like this, so we kinda just walked to see where it was, and then we thought it maybe was the elevator that caught on fire and then turning out that it was a train derailment, it was just the craziest thing to ever happen," evacuated resident Emily Runge told KELO.
Officials said they planned to let the fire burn itself out overnight before they begin clean-up efforts.
Photo: Getty Images