Families adjust to being evacuated following train derailment in northwest Iowa

Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 9:51 PM CDT
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SIBLEY, I.A. (Dakota News Now) -Crews are still determining what caused 47-train cars to derail in a northwest Iowa town Sunday afternoon. Drone footage shows just how extensive the crash is. Black smoke filled the sky as residents were evacuated from their homes.

As crews work to clean up the mess, many residents in town are getting back to their usual routine after evacuating Sunday out of caution.

Emely Monzon was one of the residents who evacuated. The 17-year-old was driving back to town when she was greeted by road barriers.

“There was a lot of smoke coming out. It was a lot of smoke and then the road was blocked off by a lot of cops, the ambulance was there, the fire department was there,” said Monzon.

“Then I called my mom and my mom told me that the fire department had told her that we need to evacuate. So I’m not sure where my mom stayed, but I moved over to Worthington and I stayed over there,” said added.

She says it was a scary experience.

“Especially when you’re not with your family and you don’t know if they evacuated safely or not,” said Monzon.

Monzon was able to return to town Monday.

Phyllis Stogsdill lives two blocks away from the derailment. The sheriff told her to evacuate.

“I was getting things out and he said get out now. You can’t go back in,” said Stogsdill.

“Oh, I was just devastated, you know, leaving my home,” she added.

Stogsdill and her daughter ended up staying in a nearby town.

“I actually have a rental property over there that is empty. So we just went there and made the best of it,” said Tina Baartman.

Officials were being cautious as they were concerned the burning chemicals could cause an explosion or be hazardous to the environment.

We now know the chemicals in the burning train cars are: “Hydrochloric acid, potassium hydroxide, and asphalt and none of that is an inhalant risk,” said Kristen South, Senior Director of Corporate Communications for Union Pacific.

Stogsdill is now staying with her daughter and waiting for the voluntary evacuation to be lifted so she can go home.

Part of Sibley was under voluntary evacuation. That has been lifted as of 8 p.m. Monday.

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