Smoke Being Blown from Chicago Freight Train Crash

November 3, 2011; 8:35 AM ET
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This map shows the vicinity of the train derailment and fire north of West Bartlett Road, near New Spalding and Gifford roads between Bartlett and South Elgin, Ill.

A freight train carrying hazardous material has crashed and burst into flames in a Chicago suburb this morning, sending smoke, fumes and steam aloft.

The train was carrying hazardous materials. Smoke and fumes were being blown to the southwest on brisk northeasterly winds averaging 10 to 20 mph. Rain was falling at the time of the crash.

According to CBS News, the train, owned and operated by Canadian National, derailed around 5:10 a.m. in an industrial park between Bartlett and South Elgin, Ill.

Multiple fire department crews battled the blaze, which spread to multiple freight cars.

Of the several dangerous chemical compounds on board, sodium hydroxide can continue to burn without being exposed to air.

Reactions with other hazardous chemicals on board were believed to be the cause of the initial blaze and additional blazes that followed.

In addition to the risk of smoke and fumes being blown downwind of the scene, service on the Milwaukee District-West Line was disrupted, affecting the Metra Line between Elgin and Union Station.

As of the midday hours the fires were extinguished and cleanup had begun, multiple sources say.

It is not know when service on the Milwaukee West Line will be resumed.


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