Watch: Fiery aftermath of train derailment in Illinois

Thick, black smoke can be seen for miles and evacuations have been ordered after a train derailed in an Illinois suburb of St Louis.

The St Clair County Emergency Management Agency reported the train derailed about 12.30pm Tuesday (5.30am this morning NZT) in the town of Dupo, about 14 kilometres south of St Louis.

It posted a video of large plumes of black smoke coming from a fire. Smoke could be seen in downtown St Louis.

Dupo police say students at a grade school, junior high school and a high school have been evacuated to a high school farther away. Police say a few hundred residents of a mobile home park and a subdivision near the tracks also have been evacuated.

KMOV-TV posted video showing more than 10 train cars derailed and flames shooting from the wreckage.

Emergency officials said they were not immediately aware of what the train was carrying.

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Aerial pictures show thick black smoke billowing into the air. Source: Breakfast