Clean-up continues on Rensselaer train derailment

Roads are still closed in Rensselaer as crews continue to clean up a train derailment from Thursday night.

Posted: Dec 22, 2017 6:39 PM
Updated: Dec 22, 2017 7:03 PM

RENSELLAER, Ind. (WLFI)—Roads are still closed in Rensselaer as crews continue to clean up a train derailment from Thursday night. Cars came off the track near the McKinley Avenue crossing around 10:15 p.m. Police estimate 12 cars came off the track in the McKinley Avenue neighborhood.

The crash was believed to be caused by a broken wheel on one of the cars. Many of the cars were full of high fructose corn syrup. There were a few cars designated for petroleum, but they were empty. Police evacuated homes by the tracks around 11:30 p.m. Thursday. Around 2:30 in the morning, people were able to return to their homes.

Damage was contained to the track area with minor damage to personal property. Rensselaer Police Chief Jeff Phillips said their number one concern was safety for everyone around the area.

"The petroleum distillate cars were empty, but then again we want to take precautions on that until we're 100 percent sure there's no leaks, so that's why the evacuation. Once we got the all clear, we allowed people to go back into their homes."

Jarred Riegle lives by the tracks. He said watching the train come near his home was a traumatic experience. 

"Very scary because it's a tank, so we didn't know what was in it if it could cause a fire from all those sparks and then the cops came and told us to evacuate right away," said Riegle.

Crews have been working around the clock to remove the train cars off the tracks. Chief Phillips said they hope to have the railway open at some point Friday night.

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