SIBLEY, Iowa (KELO) – The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office in northwest Iowa tells us that a train derailed Sunday in Sibley, which is between Rock Rapids and Okoboji. Sunday afternoon, residents of the town say they were told to evacuate. An Iowa State Trooper told our crew on scene that they were worried that whatever was burning from the derailment is toxic to inhale.
Residents of Sibley, Iowa, were shocked when a train derailed in their small town.
“This is the first time, like I said, that I experienced something like this,” evacuated resident Phyllis Jenkins said.
“It’s pretty quiet around here, things like this don’t usually happen,” evacuated resident Glenda Deboer said.
“Coming from a small town, you know, nothing ever happens like this, so we kinda just walked to see where it was and then we thought it maybe was the elevator that caught on fire and then turning out that it was a train derailment, it was just the craziest thing to ever happen,” evacuated resident Emily Runge said.
Taking a look at the scene was something multiple residents thought to do before they were told to evacuate.
“I looked and I saw this big, thick, black smoke and I thought maybe it was something from downtown,” Jenkins said.
“My husband was outside and he had heard, I mean, he heard a very, very loud noise and so he did go to town,” Deboer said. “I mean, he did not know what was going on, but he knew something was.”
But when they were told they needed to leave, they grabbed their essentials.
“I got prepared,” Jenkins said. “I put everything, like my medications and stuff in my purse.”
“I decided, well, we’ll just make the choice to come out here to Jackrabbit to relax and so, yeah, we’re headed to Spirit Lake now, so because I don’t think we’ll be able to go into town,” evacuated resident Chris Runge said.
Now they wait for the all-clear to go home.
“Thank you to the firemen who are helping all of us,” evacuated resident Ashley Nibbelink said.
“Yeah, thank you to the firemen and, especially, to the troopers that are here keeping everybody out of the town,” evacuated resident Tori Runge said.
Emily Holley, communications manager for Nebraska and Iowa for the American Red Cross, tells us that there were no reported injuries in the derailment. A reception center was opened at Ashton Legion Hall down the road from Sibley. An Iowa State Trooper said they were just letting the fire burn out overnight. We’ll continue to update you on this situation as we learn more.