"It's just kinda out in the middle of the cornfields, you know," says town resident Jeff Naece.
It's also home to heavy industry, strip malls and trains, CBS News Correspondent Cynthia Bowers reports. Monday night's derailment changed Bourbonnais forever.
Cari Naece says "I was just in shock, that something like that could happen in our small town."
Cari and Jeff Naece live so close to the tracks, that Cari heard the accident. Jeff works in the steel mill next to the crash site.
"About 11:30, Jeff calls me," says Cari Naece, "and he said that he had saved, got out, like five people."
Jeff Naece was one of the first to arrive on the scene, and in many ways, he hasn't left it.
He saw "a lot of sad faces, scared faces, shocked faces. They're all there. I can picture every single one of them again. And I try to get rid of it, and I can't."
And Jeff's not alone. Even rescue workers, who train for disaster, are having a tough time in its aftermath.
Volunteer firefighter Randy Irps says "It's been hard, but I'm going to get through this. It's going to be fine."
In the three days that have now passed since the tragedy, the tracks have been cleared, and trains are moving again through this little community. For the people who live here it is a time of mixed emotions.
Mike Hildegrand, also a volunteer firefighter, says "I think everyone involved, the whole town, are the heroes."
Bourbonnais is also left with a great sense of sadness.
Jeff Naece says "I feel so bad for the people that lost their lives. It happened so fast that I wish there'd been more we could do. And I think a lot of people feel that."
They also realize that their little town will forever be remembered as the site of the one of the deadliest train crashes in the nation's history.