Freight train derails in Matteson, leading to evacuations amid leak

A suspected leak led to the evacuations Thursday morning

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Authorities briefly evacuated residents and businesses after a freight train derailment in Matteson Thursday morning.

According to officials, a mandatory evacuation order was issued to residents and businesses located near the derailment, which occurred at 217th Street and Main due to a suspected leak from the derailed cars.

According to an update from Canadian National, a car containing liquified gas leaked a "limited amount of product" during the derailment. The leak was contained and there is no longer a "danger to public safety," the company said.

Public officials in Matteson echoed those comments, saying that "propane residue" leaked from one of the derailed cars. That substance was quickly contained, and there is no ongoing danger to the public.

Mayor Sheila Chalmers-Currin said during a Thursday press conference that the situation is “mitigated,” and that there is no ongoing danger to the public.

She also said that Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Rep. Robin Kelly reached out to officials to offer assistance in the wake of the derailment.

Matteson Fire Chief Michael Bacon said that no injuries were reported, and that the leak involved propane residue. That substance is flammable, but there were no fires reported at the scene, Bacon said.

Cleanup of the derailment site continues, and it is unclear when regular traffic will resume in the area.  

The company estimates that 25 cars left the tracks during the derailment.

Metra trains were halted through the area due to the evacuation order, but service on the Electric Line has since resumed, according to officials.

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