A major fire broke out Tuesday afternoon near downtown Sioux Center. A semi-truck unloading a flammable liquid into a rail car tanker adjacent to farmers co-op elevator exploded, with flames shooting several hundred feet into the air.
Firefighters responded along with five other area fire departments totaling over 100 firefighters and 50 area E-M-Ts. Sioux Center Fire Chief Dave Van Holland said they were able to contain the fire but as of 10 P.M. Tuesday, there was still fuel leaking from the rail car.
Van Holland says the fire was contained to that area but nearby tanks and cars were getting very hot. Sioux City Hazmat was also called to the scene. One person was injured, an adult male who was taken by helicopter to a Lincoln, Nebraska, burn unit. Sioux Center Police Chief Paul Adkins said authorities evacuated homes and businesses nearby.
About 1,500 people were evacuated in a half-mile radius by authorities going door-to-door. People were allowed to return to their homes at about 9:30 P.M. except for about a four-block area immediately around the scene. The state fire marshal was also on the scene and is investigating.