25-Car Train Derailment Spills Beer And Clay Along Narrow, Century-Old Tunnel

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Melanie Wilcox Contributor
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A 25-car train carrying mostly food and clay products derailed Sunday morning in Montana, leaving crews on the hook for cleaning up clay and cases of Coors Light and Blue Moon.

“It’s a terrible spot to get in and out of,” Bill Naegeli, manager for Sanders County Disaster and Emergency Services, told KXAN of the derailment on the Clark Fork River. “The biggest issue is the cars derailed inside the tunnel.” (RELATED: CDC Investigators Got Sick While Probing Toxic Train Derailment)

The derailment occurred inside a century-old tunnel east of the visible cars. Some boxcars were overturned and others in the Clark Fork River, the Missoulian reported. One railcar reportedly carried butane — a type of liquefied petroleum gas — but did not release any hazardous materials.

Crews were carrying a floating boom across a river to catch anything, mainly beers, drifting downstream by 4 p.m. Sunday, the outlet noted.

“We’re just kind of digging into the investigation piece,” Montana Rail Link (MRL) Director of Communications Andy Garland told the Missoulian.

Plains-Paradise Rural Fire Chief James Russell said that in his 12 years with the department, this was his first train derailment. Eleven firefighters responded, and the Whitewater Rescue Institute was also on the scene with watercraft and other personnel.

“Our local MRL guys showed up really fast. They had guys on the ground there right away,” Russell told the outlet.