Fiery Train Derailment Forces Small Town To Evacuate


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Alexa Schwerha Contributor
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A Minnesota town was evacuated early Thursday morning after a Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) train caught fire during a train derailment.

Approximately 22 cars derailed and four caught fire around 1:00 a.m. in Raymond, Minnesota, carrying ethanol and corn syrup, BNSF confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation. Residents within a half mile of the derailment were evacuated, and travel to the city is not advised, according to a Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office. (RELATED: Train Derails In North Dakota, Spills Toxic Materials: REPORT)

“Residents were instructed to leave their homes and an emergency collection site for those with nowhere to go was established at the Central Minnesota Christian School building in nearby Prinsburg, MN,” the sheriff’s office statement, posted Thursday morning, read. “The site remains active as the fire is being contained, no travel is advised to the city of Raymond. The location of the shelter will be moved later this morning to the Unity Church, also in Prinsburg, MN.”

Emergency responders were dispatched after the sheriff’s office was notified of the derailment, the statement read. BNSF told the DCNF that “there are no other hazardous materials on the train and no injuries as a result of the incident.”

“BNSF field personnel are onsite to assess the derailment site and are working closely with local first responders,” BNSF said. “Residents and businesses impacted by the incident can contact 866-243-4784 for assistance.  The main track is blocked and an estimated time for reopening the line is not available. The cause of the incident is under investigation.”

Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tweeted Thursday morning that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is at the derailment site.

“At present no injuries or fatalities have been reported,” Buttigieg tweeted. “We are tracking closely as more details emerge and will be involved in [investigation.]”

The FRA does not release preliminary findings of an investigation, a spokesperson told the DCNF. The accident investigations are typically conducted within six months and publish the results on their online database.

In addition to the FRA investigation, railroad companies are required to submit a report detailing the circumstances and cause of a derailment 30 days after the month the incident occurred, the spokesperson explained. The reports are published to the FRA’s website three months after they are received.

The Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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