Train carrying flammable chemicals and fertiliser derails and ‘explodes’

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A town has been evacuated after a train carrying fertiliser and flammable substances derailed in a horror pile up.

The train, carrying ammonium nitrate, highly flammable, has led to a Hazmat team being called in.

Those living within a five-mile radius of the explosion were ordered to evacuate due to the serious nature of the incident.

Authorities said the derailment of the train was a result of a bridge collapse.

They added that diesel fuel caused the fire and all nearby waterways have been blocked.

47 train cars were involved in the crash and are left piled up on the tracks.

The fire has sent plumes of thick black smoke into the air, and nearby nursing home and hospital were reportedly evacuated.

Resident Nate Minten posted a video of the smoke rising on his Facebook page.

Minten wrote: "I could see smoke filing up a couple hundred feet at least.

"We didn't hear any bangs or anything."

The train derailed at around 2pm Sunday, and residents could still see smoke at 4.30pm.

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Jamie Craig, superintendent of a local community school district has staff on standby in case of a full evacuation.

He told Des Moines Register: “I’m in my house getting prepared in case of evacuation.

"Our transportation director and bus drivers are on standby in case of need to help."

Fire crews from multiple neighbouring towns have rushed down to the scene.

Aerial footage of the scene shows tens of train cars piled up and smoke rising up from the flames.

There are no immediate reports of any injuries.

An area of around five miles has been evacuated due to the concern around the ammonium nitrate being transported by the trains.

Jared VanderVeen, who was visiting family in the town on Sunday, said there was a noticeable chemical smell in the area.

Authorities have blocked off all roads into the town, he said.

Robin Eggink and her husband, Scott, were outside of Sibley in the early afternoon when they noticed the train slowing down.

It eventually stopped and they saw a big cloud of smoke as they were leaving a restaurant.

“The fire trucks started coming around and telling everyone we have to evacuate,” Eggink said.

She said the train was 'split in two' on different sides of the bridge.

Ammonium nitrate is a common highly explosive chemical compound used to make fertilisers, matches, explosives, and pyrotechnics.

It does not readily burn but will catch alight if it's contaminated with combustible material.

Union Pacific Railroad Company told ABC news in a statement: Witnesses say the train is 'split in two' over different sides of the bridge

The Osceola County Sheriff's Office also confirmed Hazmat equipment is on the scene but has not said whether it is being used.

Sibley is a town with a population of around 3,000 based in Osceola County, and is approximately 200 miles north west of Des Moines.

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