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Train derailment in eastern Iowa leaves mess, slows traffic

LECLAIRE (AP) — A train derailment Friday morning sent more than a dozen rail cars and tankers off the tracks in the eastern Iowa city of LeClaire, shutting down a nearby highway and sending a hazardous materials team scrambling to the downtown district site.
The derailment happened a couple of hundred feet from the banks of the Mississippi River, along U.S. Highway 67, which runs parallel to the tracks. LeClaire police closed the highway in both directions shortly after the derailment and told the public to avoid the area.
The derailment involved a Canadian Pacific Railroad train, Scott County Emergency Management planner Brian Payne said. A hazmat team was sent to the scene, but no injuries were reported, he added.
LeClaire Assistant Fire Chief Kent Amerine told the Quad-City Times that a substance was leaking from one of the tankers at the scene. Payne’s office later said a chemical leak was discovered.
“It did flow into a kind of natural dike formed when the tankers derailed, and the substance did not spread,” Amerine said, adding that there’s no additional threat to the environment or to people.
Officials have not said what chemical spilled.
Amerine also said no damage had been found to any buildings on either side of the tracks where the derailment occurred, but confirmed several vehicles in an adjacent parking lot were damaged.
Officials have not said what might have caused the derailment. LeClaire is a city of roughly 3,800 located about 175 miles east of Des Moines.
Canadian Pacific Railroad spokesman Andy Cummings said the railroad is working with local emergency response officials and has dispatched teams to the site. The cause of the derailment is under investigation, Cummings said.