About 80 people in a city in northwest Iowa were evacuated on Sunday afternoon after part of a Union Pacific train hauling hazardous materials derailed and then caught fire, officials said.
The derailment of about 47 cars took place around 2 p.m. in Sibley, said Robynn Tysver, a spokeswoman for Union Pacific. By 3 p.m., local officials had texted an evacuation order to people nearby, citing “HAZMAT train derailment and fire.”
There were no reports of injuries or fatalities, said Lucinda Parker, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. It was not clear where the train was headed or how many total cars it had.
Mike Schulte, a member of the Osceola County board of supervisors, and Ms. Tysver said they were unable to confirm what materials were on the train when it derailed.
radio station KIWA reported. Sibley, which is about 80 miles north of Sioux City, has a population of about 2,700.
Wendy J. Buckley, president and chief executive of STARS Hazmat Consulting, said that ammonium nitrate mixed with diesel fuel is “a very explosive mixture.”
The combination is used in the mining industry as an explosive. It was also used in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 that killed 169 people and injured 467, she said.
Dan Bechler, the emergency management coordinator for Osceola County, said in an interview that responders were still trying to piece together what happened.
Robin Eggink and her husband, Scott, were eating inside a Pizza Hut when they noticed a large train nearby.