Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Antioch Police Department, and Antioch firefighters responded around 1:45 a.m. Friday, August 21, 2020 at Lake Shore Drive east of Route 83 in unincorporated Antioch to a report of a car crash with a freight train. A cargo spill was initially reported as north of Lake Shore Drive near Route 83.
Following impact, a passenger car was dragged by the freight train for about 125 yards, and the impact split a freight car in two pieces, spilled cargo, and caused some damage to the railroad. Initially there was no confirmation whether the vehicle was occupied or recently occupied when it was hit. No immediate injuries were reported at the scene.
Police officers first on the scene discovered a damaged freight train car with a white powder spilled from the broken freight car.
The identity of the spill was not officially released to the public on fire department or law enforcement social media. A witness at the scene said he heard the chemical was “ammonium hydrate” or “aluminum hydrate” but wasn’t sure about the identification. “Ammonium hydrate” does not have an exact match in the CAMEO Chemicals database. The word “ammonium” matches 161 datasheets in the CAMEO Chemicals database. CAMEO (Computer-Aided Management of Emergency Operations) is a database provided by the EPA’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Response and Restoration (NOAA) to assist firefighters with chemical identification and hazmat response at emergency scenes.
CAMEO also does not have an exact match for “aluminum hydrate” and has 78 datasheet matches for aluminum.
The Loon Lake shoreline was possibly as close as 245 feet to 520 feet to the spilled chemical scene.
Apparently there was no major fire department hazmat response for the white powder spill. Canadian National Railway crews were cleaning the spill at least until Friday night, August 21, 2020.
Along with Lake Shore Drive, Route 83 and Grass Lake Road were initially blocked by the stopped freight train. The train was at least one-half mile long in both directions, and possibly up to a total of two miles long. All railroad crossings were clear by 6:30 a.m. Friday. The block intersections were located in incorporated and unincorporated Antioch.
Note: The Lake County Sheriff’s Office in recent years has provided the best official social media updates regarding incidents among all law enforcement or fire agencies in northeast Illinois and possibly all of Illinois.
No Verification of ‘Hazard’ or ‘No Hazard’ in Lake County
As of Saturday August 22, 2020 at 8:01 a.m. there was no mention of the incident, no mention of the identity of the chemical, and no confirmation on whether the chemical presented any hazards to humans, animals or the environment on any social media accounts for the official Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Antioch Police Department or Antioch Fire Department.
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