Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Collision on BNSF ignites oil train fire

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
Collision on BNSF ignites oil train fire ABC News
A wreck involving two BNSF trains, one of which was carrying crude oil, sparked a huge fire and evacuations of nearby communities in North Dakota on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013.

According to a BNSF service advisory, at 02:10 p.m. Central Standard time, unit grain train GRYLRGT926 derailed on Main track 1 and impacted unit oil train UFYNHAY405, causing it to derail on Main track 2 just west of Casselton, N.Dak. (population 2,300), 25 miles west of Fargo.

The grain train that derailed was bound for an export terminal at Rivergate, Ore., just outside Portland. The unit oil train that got tangled up in the wreck was destined for Hayti, Mo., site of a BNSF-served rail-to-barge terminal. The explosions and fire involved about 10 oil tank cars, according to preliminary reports. The cause of the derailment has not been determined. There were no reports of injuries.

According to Sgt. Tara Morris of the Cass County Sheriff's Office, firefighters were forced to let the fire burn out, which was expected to take as long as 12 hours from the time of the accident, because they could not get close enough to the flames. The sheriff's office advised all residents in Casselton and two nearby townships to evacuate because the winds were shifting due to a high-pressure system.

BNSF said it had no estimate when the right-of-way would reopen, and that customers could experience delays of 24 to 48 hours on shipments moving through the corridor.