by: Gage Teunissen
NORTH SIOUX CITY, S.D. (KCAU) — A railcar malfunction is currently believed to have been the cause of Wednesday’s train derailment in North Sioux City.
Union County Emergency Management Director Jason Westcott told KCAU 9 that preliminary investigations currently point to the cause of the derailment to have been a railcar malfunction. Westcott mentioned that further investigation would happen after the initial clean-up to solidify what caused the derailment.
The derailment happened on Wednesday at around 4 p.m. in the area near Main Street and Military Road.
Westcott explained how the bridge might have collapsed due to the malfunction.
“Normally what happens is something malfunctions, the car starts derailing. And in the process, that will destroy the bridge because the engine is still pulling the cars and they’re flipped sideways now and they shouldn’t be, so then that destroys things, so,” he said.
Westcott said that 16 cars, 11 hopper cars and five ethanol tankers, were affected by the derailment. The hopper cars were all empty and none of the ethanol tankers had any sort of spillage, according to Westcott.
Westcott said Thursday morning that four out of the five ethanol tankers have been uprighted and were ready to roll down the tracks. After all five are back on the tracks, crews will work on the remaining hopper cars, and then bridge cleanup begins.
Westcott told KCAU 9 that the bridge cleanup will likely take the longest, but overall cleanup efforts have gone smoothly so far. Main Street/Highway 105 will remain closed for the time being until cleanup reaches a comfortable spot.
D&I owned the train that was involved in the crash. Westcott told KCAU 9 that D&I and BNSF had an agreement where D&I has rail rights, meaning they are responsible for the upkeep.
Westcott said BNSF is on the scene assisting in the cleanup.