Community comes together after evacuation

ellendale train derailment

ELLENDALE, Minn.-  As residents evacuated their homes and businesses, many people took refuge at the Geneva United Methodist Church just outside of Ellendale.

There are about 700 residents in Ellendale. Steele County Sheriff’s Deputies knocked on doors to inform community members about the derailment.

“It was scary, but we kind have already been outside so we kind of knew something was going on,” said Rosa Deleon of Ellendale. “We could see where some of the train was derailed.”

So Deleon and many others spent much of the day at the Geneva United Methodist Church. Living near the railroad tracks, Rosa isn’t surprised by what happened.

“There are so many trains that go by here so you’re never sure if this is going to happen,” said Deleon. “Then you’ll hear the screeching and then the sudden stopping and you’re afraid, but I never imagined it would happen when I lived in the area.”

News of the derailment spread fast through social media.

“I was just having my cup of coffee and saw a post on Facebook that we were evacuating the city so that’s how I began my day,” said Stephanie Kibler, Ellendale City Council Member.

Kibler hopes this is a learning experience for the town.

“As a City Council member we need to have a system in place for something like this so I’m hoping that will be a goal of ours and we have one in the next few months,” said Kibler.

As life gets back to normal, residents are just thankful the situation wasn’t any worse.

“I’m glad that citizens are evacuating and I’m glad that the church is available for us to use,” said Kibler. “The response team for emergency management is excellent so I have no concerns with what their process is.”

Schools closed for the day as well. They will most likely being open on Monday. Folks were able to return to their homes a little after noon.

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