Firefighters worked to extinguish the burning rubble, which piled up near the town of Sibley. Thick plumes of polluting black smoke were seen bellowing out of the pile of twisted metal, though no injuries were reported.
Located about 200 miles northwest of Des Moines, Sibley, population 3,000, had to be mostly evacuated in order to deal with the mess. Some of the train cars were carrying hazardous, explosive materials.
Union Pacific spokeswoman Robyn Tysver said first responders had to work through the night to try to contain the blaze. Some of the hazardous materials identified at the site included hydrochloric acid, potassium hydroxide, and asphalt. An empty car on the track had been carrying liquid ammonia nitrate.
The cause of the derailment remains under investigation, the railroad reported, but witnesses say a bridge collapse was responsible.
Robin Eggink told the Des Moines Register that she and her husband were eating dinner at Pizza Hut near Sibley when they noticed a huge cloud of black smoke. They drove over to the site and saw the train split in two on both sides of the bridge, which collapsed before firefighters ordered everyone to leave the vicinity.
Nearly a decade ago, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) issued a warning about America's crumbling infrastructure.
The United States received a failing grade from the ASCE for the health of its bridges, roads, dams and levees, which are in pitiful shape – and getting worse – for a country that claims to be part of the first world.
Just the other day at the Arkansas and Tennessee border, the entire I-40 bridge had to be shut down after a large crack was reportedly noticed on one of the structural beams. That section of the highway will remain closed indefinitely.
The perpetual decay of America's infrastructure is often blamed on lack of funding, but as we all know there is plenty of that to go around for endless wars in the Middle East, "free stuff" for illegal immigrants, and congressional paychecks and pensions.
It would seem as though America's tax disbursement priorities are out of whack and in need of a retune. Something has to be done unless we want to see more catastrophes like the train wreck, the failing I-40 bridge, and whatever else might come next.
The problem is endemic to both "red" and "blue" states, by the way, making the mismanagement of taxpayer funds a bipartisan affair. It is time to step up, America, and demand that these politicians of ours fix the infrastructure problems that plague our once-great nation.
"Biden closed the pipeline, which is the most cost-efficient and carbon footprint-effective means of transportation," noted one commenter at Fox News. "He did this to force people to other forms of energy where he is heavily invested. Impeach him for being compromised by money."
"Isn't it great that the oil from Canada will now be moved by trains and trucks?" asked another sarcastically, making the same point about how pipelines are far safer for transporting hazardous fuels than trains and trucks.
"Now that the Keystone XL pipeline is canceled by Biden, the world is supposedly greener. Really? Fact is, it's the opposite. It is much less safe and efficient to ship by trucks and trains, which cause more accidents."
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