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Local News

Crude oil leaks after Plainfield train derailment

Scene in Plainfield at oil train derailment.
Scene in Plainfield at oil train derailment.

PLAINFIELD - Nineteen train cars derailed and one was partially off track but none were thought to still be leaking crude oil as of Saturday morning.

The derailment occured at around 6:30 p.m. on Friday night. Later Friday, Plainfield Police Sgt. Mike Fisher estimated that 40,000 gallons of crude oil leaked but on Saturday Jim Kvedaras, U.S. Government Affairs at CN Transportation Services, said that an estimate isn't possible at this time.

EPA representative  Mike Beslow  estimated that nearly one and a half train cars spilled. Kvedaras would not confirm that estimate but did say that each car can carry 30,000 gallons of crude oil.

There was no fire and no injuries in the derailment, authorities said.

"We believe that, by all standards, that there is no measurable threat to the community," Plainfield Police Chief John Konopek said.

Puncture wounds were found in two cars of the 115-car train carrying ExxonMobil oil headed from Canada to Louisiana, which left both  143rd Street (Route 30) and Riverwalk Court (only access road near derailment site) in Plainfield closed on Saturday morning. A third derailed car was still buried and it was suspected to be leaking from a puncture wound.

The holes in the train cars were the size of a walnut and a wrist, Kvedaras said. The derailment started at the 75th car of the train.

Foam was used near the derailment site to mitigate the damage caused by the oil.  There was concern of the oil leaking into the nearby DuPage River but Fisher said on Friday night the oil was barricaded off from reaching the river.

"All efforts are being made right now to make sure that continues," Fisher said.

Fisher also said there was an evacuation of nearby businesses within a 1,000-foot radius of the spill, but not residential areas.

The derailment occurred on CN railroad tracks between Route 59 and 143rd Street.

Several area businesses closed on Friday and some remain closed on Saturday, though no public evacuation occured.  Community Christian Church at  24035 Riverwalk Court  in Plainfield is expected to reopen on Sunday

"This is going to have a large impact on traffic and for people's ability to get around town," Fisher said.

Hazardous materials teams were on the scene, and foam was being used to control the leak. Multiple agencies were assisting in the containment efforts.

"CN has initiated its emergency response plan," CN spokesman Patrick Waldron said.

Waldron said he could not confirm what the train was carrying.

"We're working with emergency response to assess the situation," he said.

Fisher said he does not know how the train derailed or how long it will take to clean up the cars, but it would take "quite a bit of time" to get it contained and cleaned up.

This is a developing story. Check back with The Herald-News for more as the story develops.

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