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WQAD.com

Evacuated Downtown Le Claire businesses now open after train derailment

Blue Iguana employees say they felt the building shake when the train derailed Friday morning.

LE CLAIRE, Iowa -- Downtown businesses are back to business as usual, after some were evacuated following a train derailed Friday morning.

Scott County Emergency Management Agency officials say the train cars that derailed were empty, and they expect the cleanup process to take a few days.

Michelle Lopez, Blue Iguana's general manager, says the restaurant had just opened for lunch when the train rolled through town and derailed outside the restaurant's back door.

" It was like a roaring storm or tornado," she says. "The whole building started to shake, and we started to lose power."

Train cars spilled into the road at Jones St., between Cody Rd. and the Mississippi River, and toppled towards and narrowly missed the Buffalo Bill Museum.

"I looked out and saw the train car completely up and down, and I saw i start to pile up," Lopez says. "It was just insane."

Lopez is thankful that no one was hurt and missed the local businesses along Cody Road.

"If (the train car) even came this way, it would've taken out so many businesses," Lopez says. "It's very scary."

The whole thing also happened right in Kayla Lewis's backyard, who lives above a business in Downtown Le Claire.

"It felt the whole building start to shake, and the lights flickered," she says. "I was a little nervous when I saw it happen. I was afraid I'd have to run back inside, because I didn't know if things would fly up or be contained."

Hazmat crews determined a chemical spill from the train wasn't a threat to the public or the river.

The exact cause of the train derailment is still under investigation.