Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Oil train derails, catches fire in North Dakota, town evacuated

Smoke and fire coming from an oil train that derailed Wednesday, May 6, 2015 in Heimdal, North Dakota.(Curt Bemson)

Oil train derails, catches fire in central North Dakota, prompting evacuation of small town

by: BLAKE NICHOLSON and MATT BROWN    AP        May 6, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. — An oil train derailed and caught fire early Wednesday in a rural area of central North Dakota, prompting the evacuation of a nearby town where about three dozen people live.

No injuries were reported in the accident, which happened about 7:30 a.m. near Heimdal, about 115 miles northeast of Bismarck. The residents who left were staying with family and friends, Wells County Emergency Manager Tammy Roehrich said.

Ten tanker cars on the BNSF Railway train caught fire, creating thick black smoke, state Emergency Services spokeswoman Cecily Fong said.

"The engine and cars that aren't burning have been decoupled and moved to safety," she said.

Firefighters from four area communities responded to the fire, and regional hazardous materials teams from Grand Forks and Devils Lake were sent to the scene, Fong said. A team of 10 investigators from the Federal Railroad Administration was expected to arrive on the scene by mid-day Wednesday, said spokesman Kevin Thompson.

The Environmental Protection Agency was sending someone to the site to gauge any contamination to waterways in the vicinity of the derailment, spokesman Rich Mylott said. The rail line through Heimdal runs next to an intermittent waterway known as the Big Slough, which drains into the James River about 15 miles downstream near Bremen, North Dakota.

It was unclear how many cars were part of the train or how many derailed. There was no immediate word on the cause of the wreck or on the source of the oil the train was carrying. A statement from BNSF did not cite the source, and officials did not immediately return calls from The Associated Press......    more here

and a great summary of oil train explosions since Lac Megantic: from Sightline

Oil Train Explosions: A Timeline in Pictures

Ten explosions in two years, and no end in sight.

Eric de Place and Keiko Budech     May 6, 2015  Sightline

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