By Don Behm Journal Sentinel July 21, 2014
Dozens of homes in central Slinger in Washington County were evacuated Sunday evening after a train derailment prompted fears of a possible fire from diesel or other fuel.
Three engines and 10 railcars derailed, forcing the evacuation of more than 100 nearby homes, said Slinger Fire Department Chief Rick Hanke. Two people were being treated for injuries that are not life-threatening, he said.
The accident occurred southeast of the crossing of two separate freight rail lines — Wisconsin & Southern Railroad and Canadian National Railway Co. — at state Highway 144 in the village.
About 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled from an engine, Hanke said. Hazmat crews had dikes and booms in place.
Patrick Waldron, a spokesman for Canadian National Railway Co., confirmed there were two crew members on board the train.
Waldron said preliminary reports indicated the southbound train struck another set of cars on another train. The circumstances are under investigation.
There was no official confirmation late Sunday whether track conditions or speed played a factor in the derailment.
Slinger firefighters told Shawn Graff and his family to evacuate their Kettle Moraine Drive South home around 9:15 p.m. Sunday, Graff said from the safety of a Hartford hotel. Several other Slinger families also were staying there overnight.
All residences a half-mile south and east of the crossing were evacuated as a precaution, according to Graff.
The evacuation extends from Kettle Moraine Drive, or Highway 144, east to Slinger Road, and the rail crossing south to state Highway 60.
Slinger Middle School was opened as a temporary shelter.