High alert after train derailment in Watertown; many wondering when they’ll be able to go home

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WATERTOWN -- FOX6 News has learned residents in Watertown WILL NOT be allowed back into their homes on Sunday night, November 8th -- after at least 35 homes were evacuated when a Canadian Pacific train derailed on Sunday afternoon. Some were on high alert as first responders rushed to the scene.

Canadian Pacific officials say the derailment happened just after 2:00 p.m. An eastbound train carrying crude oil derailed in Watertown.

Dodge County Office of Emergency Management officials say this derailment occurred near West and Milford.

We're told there were no reports of fires or injuries. 13 rail cars are confirmed to have derailed, and some product was confirmed to be leaking, officials say.

Canadian Pacific officials say preliminary reports indicate less than 1,000 gallons of product spilled from the punctured car.

The leaking car has now been sealed, spilled product was contained and siphoned off, and no product has reached waterways. All spilled product will be hauled away and disposed of in an environmentally safe manner. CP and its contractors will establish a soil remediation plan to deal with any contaminated soil.

The Federal Railroad Administration said some of the rail cars were carrying crude oil.

Residents who were evacuated as a result of this derailment will be put up in hotels on Sunday night, paid for by Canadian Pacific. At this point, there's no word on when they'll be allowed back into their homes.

The evacuation will continue into Monday, and Watertown Mayor John David says that's out of an abundance of caution.

Several Watertown residents heard the derailment -- and nearly everyone knew it had something to do with the railroad.

One man said he thought a train had smashed into a car.

Some neighbors came out of their homes to find overturned rail cars -- and the worry didn't stop there.

"The first two cars that were derailed looked like they were right off the wheels -- like the wheels were still on the track and the tank was laying off to the side," a Watertown resident said.

"That's always scary because we've been hearing a lot of things about oil trains exploding and decimating a half a mile from the track and here we are," a Watertown resident said.

Mayor David says he's been told Canadian Pacific is bringing in resources from across the country to make sure this cleanup is done safely.

The big question for those living in Watertown, especially those who have been evacuated, is when they will be allowed back into their homes. At this point, that remains unclear.

Watertown residents are asked to call the non-emergency number for Watertown Dispatch at 920-261-6660 to get further information on returning to their residences.

Meanwhile, Amtrak officials tell FOX6 News service on "Amtrak Empire Builder Train 7" was impacted by this derailment. Train 7 was to return to Chicago, and the train was set to resume service Sunday evening with a detour from Chicago to LaCrosse.

Amtrak officials said they would provide alternate transportation for passengers traveling to destinations between Chicago and LaCrosse.

This train has 148 passengers, and travels daily between Chicago and Seattle.

Some on board the Amtrak train told FOX6 News Sunday night they have been stuck in Racine for hours due to the derailment in Watertown.

Train derailment in Watertown (PHOTO: Karl Zarling)

Train derailment in Watertown (PHOTO: Karl Zarling)

1 Comment

  • R

    If only there was some sort of…pipe…line…that could transport all this crude oil. Just a pipe…line..that ran from maybe Canada to the US.

    Oh, wait, Soros owns all these railroad car companies? Well, that explains it.

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