Crews Work to Clean Oil Spill After Train Derails in Plainfield

Crews continued to work Saturday at containing and cleaning an oil spill after a freight train derailed in suburban Plainfield.

The derailment occurred shortly after 6:30 p.m. Friday near 143rd St. east of Van Dyke Rd., authorities said.

Twenty cars of the 115-car Canadian National Railway train derailed and two, possibly three, were punctured in the crash, according to a spokesman for the agency.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimated that around 45,000 gallons of crude oil leaked into the surrounding area, though officials said there it did not impact nearby waterways, including the DuPage River.

The EPA maintained the spill has not impacted air quality and there is no threat to the public, though they continued to monitor the situation.

Crews have foam on the oil and said it is all contained, but were exercising caution to prevent it from spreading or causing a fire.

No injuries were reported in the incident, which occurred on a freight line with no passenger trains.

Authorities said Saturday that while the derailment was significant, it could have been much worse.

"There was a lot of things that were in our favor," said Plainfield Police Chief John Konopek. "If this had to happen in Plainfield – maybe the businesses nearby don’t think this - but it’s very fortunate that that was where it happened."

"It was an unpopulated area per se, it wasn’t near any residential properties," he continued. "There's no people necessarily in harm's way when the actual derailment happened."

Police asked residents of the community both to avoid the area, and for their patience as clean-up is expected to take several days.

The cause of the derailment remains under investigation.

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