Families Evacuate After Rail Accident

A suspected propane gas leak at a Cliffs Natural Resources rail yard forces employees and nearby residents to evacuate the area early this morning.

Just after midnight, a Canadian National locomotive and an LS&I crew were transferring rail cars at the Cliffs Eagle Mills Yard in Negaunee Township.

During the transfer, the locomotive somehow hit a tanker car filled with propane.

The tanker didn’t leak or spill, but crews took precautionary measures anyway.

Cliffs public affairs spokesman Dale Hemmila says they evacuated families within about a half-mile radius of the rail yard from their homes until they determined there wasn’t a leak.

It took a little less than 2 hours to do that.

An undetermined amount of diesel fuel leaked from the locomotive.

Local crews contained and cleaned up the diesel fuel leak while a downstate propane emergency response team handled the propane tank.

But the cause of the locomotive hitting the tanker car is still under investigation tonight.