Train Carrying Oil in North Dakota After Derailing

Source: Reuters 12/31/2013, Location: North America

Residents of a small town in North Dakota were urged to evacuate after a BNSF train carrying crude oil collided with another train, setting off a series of explosions and fires, the latest in a string of incidents that have raised alarms over growing oil-by-rail traffic.

Local residents heard five powerful explosions just a mile outside of the small town of Casselton after a westbound 112-car train carrying soybeans derailed. An eastbound 106-car train hauling crude oil ran into it just after 2 p.m. CST, local officials said. There were no injuries in the collision that left 21 rail cars on fire, according to BNSF.

Residents within 5 miles of Casselton were urged to evacuate to avoid contact with the smoke. Residents within 10 miles were asked to remain indoors.

Casselton resident Jolie Fiedler and her husband gathered their two dogs and left their home.

"It's better safe than sorry - just get out of town and dodge the smoke, I guess," she said. "I'm hoping that I can go home tomorrow, but who knows."

Casselton City Auditor Sheila Klevgard said crews are pushing snow to contain the oil before it reaches a nearby creek.

Half of the oil cars have been separated from the train, but another 56 cars remain in danger, said Cecily Fong, the public information officer with the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services. The collision destroyed both engines on the oil train. Both trains were operated by BNSF Railway Co, which is owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

The incident will likely stoke concerns about the safety of shipping increasing volumes of crude oil by rail, a trend that emerged from the unexpected burst of shale oil production out of North Dakota's Bakken fields. Over two-thirds of the state's oil production is currently shipped by rail.

Initial reports from the scene of the accident did not point to a malfunction on the oil-carrying train. Still, videos of the exploding rail cars are likely to add to the ongoing debate on what fixes are needed as older train cars carry flammable fuels such as oil.

The derailment occurred about a mile west of Casselton, a town of about 2,300 just west of Fargo, between an ethanol plant and the Casselton Reservoir, Fong said.

Casselton is state Governor Jack Dalrymple's hometown.


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Related Articles: Aromatic Solvents  Butene  Cleaning  Corrosion Inhibiting  Crude Oil  Diesel Fuel  Ethylene  Fluids Drilling, Completion, Workover & Stimulation  Fluids/Chemicals  Fracturing Sand  Fuel oil  Gasoline (Lead free)  General  Jet fuel  Kerosene. Domestic use  Lubricants, Oils & Greases  Nitrogen  Oil Treating & Refining  Polyethylene  Polyvinyl chloride  Propane  Sand, Sandblast  Surfactants 


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