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EPA: No environmental damage from derailment

Cause of Sunday's train crash still under investigation

051721 N DG Sibley Iowa Train train derailment S1 .jpg
Black smoke rises from a chemical fire at the siite of a train derailment on Sunday, May 16, 2021 on the south side of Sibley, Iowa.(Tim Middagh/The Globe)

SIBLEY, Iowa — Fears of contamination resulting from Sunday afternoon’s train derailment in Sibley have dissipated following an assessment from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency earlier this week.

The EPA reported that the Union Pacific train that had 47 cars leave the tracks did not cause damage to the environment. EPA officials stated the chemicals — which included hydrochloric acid and potassium hydroxide as well as asphalt, ammonium nitrate residue and gasoline — were captured and secured before any damage transpired.

While there was land burned by the fire caused by the derailment, the EPA news is the latest indication of overall good fortune in connection with the incident. There were no injuries or fatalities reported as a result of the derailment, which occurred at approximately 2 p.m. Sunday.

The volatile nature of chemicals being transported resulted in an evacuation of a portion of the community of Sibley, but all residents were allowed to return to their homes as of 8 p.m. Monday night. Clearing of the derailed cars from the site was completed soon after that, and the fire was out as of Tuesday, while the damaged bridge and tracks were repaired.

The cause of Sunday’s train derailment remains under investigation.

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