Wonder what the enviromental impact will be after this mess. Only good thing is the ground is frozen and should slow any runoff that doesn't burn.
Town told to evacuate after oil train derails
Explosions send up black cloud of smoke
Authorities urged residents to evacuate a small North Dakota community Monday night after a mile-long train carrying crude oil derailed outside of town, shaking residents with a series of explosions that sent flames and black smoke skyward.
The Cass County sheriff’s office said it was “strongly recommending” that people in the town of Casselton and anyone living five miles to the south and east evacuate. A shelter has been set up in Fargo, about 25 miles away. Casselton has about 2,400 residents.
The sheriff’s office said the National Weather Service was forecasting a shift in the weather that could increase the risk of potential health hazards.
“That’s going to put the plume right over the top of Casselton,” Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney said at a news briefing.
Investigators couldn’t get close to the blaze about a mile outside of Casselton, and official estimates of how many train cars caught fire varied. BNSF Railway Co. said it believes about 20 cars caught fire after its oil train left the tracks about 2:10 p.m. Monday. The sheriff’s office said it thinks 10 cars were on fire.
No one was hurt. The cars were still burning as darkness fell, and authorities said they would be allowed to burn out.
Authorities hadn’t yet been able to untangle exactly how the derailment happened, but a second train carrying grain was involved. BNSF spokeswoman Amy McBeth said the train carrying grain derailed first, then knocked several cars of the oil train off adjoining tracks.
BNSF said both trains had more than 100 cars each.
The National Transportation Safety Board said Monday night it has launched a “go-team” to investigate the accident.
The derailment happened amid heightened concerns about the United States’ increased reliance on rail to carry crude oil.
Fears of catastrophic derailments were particularly stoked after last summer’s crash in Quebec of a train carrying crude from North Dakota’s Bakken oil patch. Fortyseven people died in the ensuing fire.