At approximately 1515 hours on May
16, 2021, the EPA Region 7 phone duty officer was notified of a train
derailment and associated fire in Sibley, IA. Sixteen cars known to contain
hazardous materials were included in the derailment. Local officials evacuated
a five-mile radius including portions of the City of Sibley. Local officials deployed boom and constructed dams along nearby Otter Creek. EPA Region 7 deployed an On Scene Coordinator and START Contractor who arrived at approximately 2300 hours the same evening. Union Pacific, the responsible party, was conducting response operations on scene.
The primary contaminants of concern included potassium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid. Gasoline and liquid asphalt were also involved. Much of the asphalt and gasoline spilled were consumed in the fire.
Once the fire was extinguished focus turned to securing hazardous materials that had not spilled, cleaning up spilled material and planning long term remediation at the site.