Latest derailment: Slinger, WI – 2 injured, diesel spill, propane explosion, residents evacuated

Repost from The Chicago Tribune and Reuters
[Editor: for a visual diagram of the  cross-over between the two sets of tracks where the collision occurred, see this video report from 5NBC Chicago.  – RS]

Train derailment forces evacuations in Wisconsin town

Staff report and Reuters, July 21, 2014
Wisconsin train derailment
Authorities respond to the scene of a train derailment in Slinger, Wis. (WITI-TV / July 21, 2014)

Authorities are letting residents return home this morning after a train derailment and fuel spill in Slinger, Wis. prompted an evacuation Sunday night, authorities said.

Three locomotives and several railcars belonging to a Canadian National Railway trail derailed about 8:30 p.m. Sunday near State Highway 144, a railway spokesman told Reuters. Two crew members on board were injured. Their conditions were not immediately known.

The derailed train then struck another train, according to the Slinger Fire Department.

A propane tank adjacent to the train tracks exploded after the collision, said Daryl Otte, a retired Slinger firefighter who answered the phone at the Slinger Fire Department early Monday morning.  [Editor: the report of a propane tank explosion is not confirmed by other news media.  – RS]

Fuel also began spilling from one of the trains, prompting authorities to evacuate residents living within a half-mile of the derailment. About 1,000 people live within that radius, possibly more, Otte said.

Authorities opened Slinger Middle School as an emergency shelter, but residents were being allowed to return home this morning.

Dozens of firefighters worked into the morning to contain the spill, Otte said.

Slinger is a community of about 5,000 people that is about 30 miles northwest of Milwaukee.

Reuters and WGN-TV contributed to this report.