No injuries were reported in in a train derailment Friday just south of Main Street in Imperial near Interstate 55.
However, the situation could have taken a very different turn had accident occurred on the tracks that cross Main Street, said Ron Harder, a spokesman for the Rock Community Fire Protection District.
"We dodged a bullet because if those cars would have gone off the track at Main Street, it would have taken out Herrell's Market and Jefferson County Lumber and anyone else in the area," he said.
Around 2 p.m., eight tanker cars left the tracks just south of Main Street off Interstate 55, Harder said. Two of the cars, which were empty, contained hazardous materials - potassium hydroxide and ethylene glycol.
Because the car carrying potassium hydroxide had a leak, 19 homes on Churchhill Court were evacuated as a precaution, Harder said. The residents were allowed to return to their homes around 5 p.m.
HAZMAT teams from the Burlington North Santa Fe Railroad and staff from the fire district assisted with cleanup of the site.
The incident caused a short power outage in the area, affecting homes and businesses in Imperial and Arnold. Main Street was closed until late Friday.
The cause of the derailment is still under investigation.
See previous story: Traffic Alert: Main Street Closed in Imperial After Train Derailment