BNSF freight train with crude oil derails near Illinois city, two cars in flames

GALENA — A BNSF Railway freight train containing 103 cars loaded with crude oil has derailed near the northern Illinois city of Galena.

According to railroad officials, the train derailed around 1:20 p.m. Thursday in a rural area where the Galena River meets the Mississippi.

Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Moser says several cars have caught fire as a result of the derailment. The blaze hasn’t prompted any evacuations, although that may change.

BNSF spokesman Mike Trevino says the cause of the derailment hasn’t been determined. He said railroad employees are on the scene and additional BNSF personnel are headed there and will work with local responders.

In addition to the cars loaded with crude oil, the train consisted of two buffer cars loaded with sand. Its destination wasn’t immediately known.

Governor Rauner today activated the State Incident Response Center (SIRC) in Springfield to ensure state personnel and equipment are ready to be quickly deployed if needed to help local emergency responders deal with a crude oil train derailment and subsequent fire that occurred this afternoon near Galena in Jo Daviess County.

Governor Bruce Rauner also deployed staff from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to the scene.

“I activated the State Incident Response Center to ensure we’re ready to act quickly if any local responders need our assistance,” said Governor Rauner.

Representatives from several state agencies are reporting to the SIRC, including IEMA, IEPA, Illinois State Police, Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Commerce Commission, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois National Guard, Illinois Department of Central Management Services, Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois Department on Aging, Illinois Department of Corrections, Office of the State Fire Marshal and the American Red Cross.

The SIRC will remain activated as long as necessary.

For updates on the current situation, visit the Ready Illinois website at