A Preservation Perspective...
See pictures of the involved engines BNSF 101 and BNSF 519. Or read about the entire story.
NIOTA, Ill. (AP) -- Residents of this Mississippi River community and the town of Fort Madison, Iowa are back in their homes after they were forced to evacuate for several hours after two freight trains collided and one caught fire. A Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. freight train was apparently switching tracks when it derailed and collided with the second train, according to Fort Madison Assistant Fire Chief Dale Clark. Crews from both trains jumped free before the crash late Friday, paramedic Jesse Juarez said. No injuries were reported. Diesel fuel from one of the damaged engines ignited, sending billowing black smoke over parts of Fort Madison, prompting the evacuation of about 100 nearby homes, Clark said. The entire small town of Niota was evacuated as a precaution. Residents in both towns were allowed back to their homes just after 11 p.m. A billowing cloud of black smoke could be seen for about 20 miles before sunset, and firefighters needed almost four hours to control the blaze. More than a half-dozen fire departments from Illinois and Iowa battled the fire, but their efforts were hampered by a lack of hydrants in the rural area. Pumper trucks filled tankers with river water and other tankers brought water from Niota, Clark said. Further complicating efforts, one of the trains was blocking the only crossing that allows easy access to the fire. The bridge over the Mississippi between Niota and Fort Madison was closed to traffic, forcing motorists to detour about 15 miles south to Keokuk, Iowa, or about 22 miles north to Burlington, Iowa. Officials expected the bridge to reopen by early Saturday morning. The fire continued to smolder under the wreckage, which was being monitored by volunteer fire brigades early Saturday, Clark said. Water continued to be poured on the debris as railroad workers began efforts to clear the tracks of damaged rail cars.
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Copyright © 2000 Scott Ikemyer,QStation