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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Ethanol and the Fire Service: Ethanol Incidents

Fire Fighter News Sources

These are good sources for news relevant to fire fighters, including learning about recent incidents.

Cherry Valley and Rockford, IL Derailment

June 19, 2009, a freight train derailed at a rail crossing in Cherry Valley, IL. 19 cars derailed, all of which contained ethanol; 13 of the cars released ethanol, which ignited and burned. One person in a car stopped at the rail crossing was killed in the resulting fire, and 600 homes in the area were evacuated.

Within minutes of the initial explosion, witnesses comment on the fire. Around 4:25 into the video, they are ordered to evacuate, and they drive to a safer location, warning neighbors along the way. Video by Rachel and Rebekah Rawson, Rawson Photography LLC.

Columbus, OH Rail Fire

On July 11, 2012, tanker cars carrying ethanol derailed near a Columbus, Ohio neighborhood.

This breaking news video from CNN shows the fire burning. At the time, the material the cars were carrying was unknown.

Video from the Columbus Dispatch. This video discusses the cleanup effort and includes a description and video of the fire.

New Brighton, PA Derailment


October 20, 2006, a freight train derailed while crossing the Beaver River bridge in New Brighton, Pennsylvania. 23 tank cars derailed, all of which contained ethanol; 20 of the cars released ethanol, which ignited and burned. Some of the ethanol was released into the river. Residences in the surrounding area were evacuated.


Witnesses watch and comment on the fire. Video by Youtube user aldalote, Merry Cranberry Production.

Tiskilwa, IL rail fire


October 7, 2011, in Tiskilwa, Illinois, 26 cars derailed, some of which were carrying ethanol.

Baltimore Tanker Truck Fire

May 13, 2007, a tanker truck carrying ethanol overturned on an interstate ramp. The truck burned, and ethanol drained from bridge to street below, igniting several parked cars.

Arcadia, OH Derailment

February 7, 2011, a train derailed in Cass Township, just west of Arcadia, Ohio. 26 cars carrying ethanol derailed, 10 of which burned.

WUPW Fox Toledo discusses the incident and speaks with fire chiefs and residents about the fire.

Port Kembla Ethanol Tank Fire

January 28, 2004, ethanol in a 7 million liter storage tank in Port Kembla, Australia ignited, blowing off the roof of the tank and producing 50 meter high flames.

Ethanol Plant Explosions

A number of fires have occured at ethanol plants. This is not a complete list.