NTSB: Fire at Iowa train derailment still burning Saturday

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GRAETTINGER, Iowa (AP) - An investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board says an ethanol-fueled fire in Iowa at the site of rural train derailment is still burning nearly 36 hours after it erupted.

Peter Knudson with the NTSB says that two tankers carrying ethanol were still burning Saturday morning, keeping investigators away from the site in northwestern Iowa. Knudson said investigators will do some limited work, including interviewing train crew members.

The derailment occurred around 1 a.m. Friday near Graettinger, about 160 miles northwest of Des Moines. It sent 27 tanker cars, each carrying 25,000 gallons of ethanol, off the tracks. Two crew members escaped unharmed, and no other injuries had been reported.

The train was operated by Omaha-based Union Pacific Railroad.


UPDATE: A fiery train derailment in rural Iowa has at least one group suggesting that the industry should move faster to upgrade aging rail tankers.

A Union Pacific train hauling 100 tankers full of ethanol derailed early Friday over a creek near Graettinger, about 160 miles northwest of Des Moines. It sent 27 tanker cars off the tracks.

Federal rules enacted in 2015 call for replacing or retrofitting the tankers in question by 2029, although most would have to come off the tracks sooner.

Karen Darch, co-chair of an Illinois-based coalition that has pushed for rail safety enhancements, says she would like "to see the industry stepping up and beating the deadline."