Train Full of Natural Gas Derails and Explodes

Illustration for article titled Train Full of Natural Gas Derails and Explodes

An Illinois town west of Chicago was just evacuated after a train derailed and several tanks full of ethanol exploded this morning. WGN-TV has some unedited footage of the huge mess. Whoa. This looks bad.

The Chicago Tribune reports that a train operated by Iowa Interstate Railroad derailed in central Illinois this morning and at least six of the 112 cars caught on fire after tanks of ethanol exploded. Firefighters were able to bring what looks to have been a very hot very raging fire under control. The full contents of the containers are unknown—fingers crossed that it's nothing that would cause an environmental catastrophe. The nearby town of Tiskilwa was evacuated. Luckily no injuries have been reported. We hope it stays that way. [WGN-TV and Chicago Tribune]

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Natural gas is almost all methane GAS (but can have some other hydrocarbons like ethane, propane, etc). Ethanol (C2H5OH is "biofuel". It is also liquid at room temperature and not the same as ethane (C2H6; gas at room temperature).. It's what's found in your beer, vodka, and sex on the beach. #correction.