Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Changes urged after oil train derails near North Dakota town

CASSELTON, N.D. — A southeastern North Dakota town narrowly escaped tragedy when a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded nearby, the mayor said Tuesday, calling for changes in how the fuel is transported across the United States.

No one was hurt in Monday's derailment of the mile-long train that sent a fireball and plumes of black smoke skyward about a mile from the small town of Casselton.

Worries about the smoke plume prompted officials to ask Casselton's 2,400 residents to evacuate Monday evening, and most did. The recommendation was lifted Tuesday afternoon, but officials were urging residents south of the derailment to remain vigilant about changing conditions, Cass County Commissioner Ken Pawluk said.

The rail tracks run straight through the middle of Casselton, a town about 25 miles west of Fargo. Mayor Ed McConnell estimated that dozens of people could have been killed if the derailments had happened within the town. He said it is time to "have a conversation" with federal lawmakers about the dangers of transporting oil by rail.

"There have been numerous derailments in this area," he told the Associated Press. "It's almost gotten to the point that it looks like not if we're going to have an accident, it's when. We dodged a bullet by having it out of town, but this is too close for comfort."

Residents said the blasts lasted for hours after the derailment, shaking homes and businesses.

The train was operated by BNSF Railway. A spokeswoman said 18 tanker cars burned.

National Transportation Safety Board officials on the scene said the agency's investigation would examine the train recorder, the signal system, the condition of the train operators, train and tracks, as well as the response to the derailment.

North Dakota is the No. 2 oil-producing state in the United States, trailing only Texas. In December, the state's top oil regulator said that he expected as much as 90 percent of North Dakota's oil to be carried by train in 2014, up from 60 percent.

Changes urged after oil train derails near North Dakota town 12/31/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 10:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Kriseman invites Steph Curry to St. Pete on Twitter

    Blogs

    Mayor Rick Kriseman is no stranger to tweaking President Donald Trump on social media.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman took to Twitter Saturday evening to wade into President Donald Trump's latest social media scuffle
  2. Death toll, humanitarian crisis grow in Puerto Rico

    World

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A humanitarian crisis grew Saturday in Puerto Rico as towns were left without fresh water, fuel, power or phone service following Hurricane Maria's devastating passage across the island.

    Crew members assess electrical lines in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on Friday in Puerto Rico. Mobile communications systems are being flown in but “it’s going to take a while.”
  3. N. Korea says strike against U.S. mainland is 'inevitable'

    World

    North Korea's foreign minister warned Saturday that a strike against the U.S. mainland is "inevitable" because President Donald Trump mocked leader Kim Jong Un with the belittling nickname "little rocketman."

  4. All-eyes photo gallery: Florida State Seminoles loss to the N.C. State Wolfpack

    News

    View a gallery of images from the Florida State Seminoles 27-21 loss to the N.C. State Wolfpack Saturday in Tallahassee. The Seminoles will face Wake Forest on Saturday, Sept. 30 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

    Florida State Seminoles fans sing the fight song during the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  5. Helicopter, small aircraft collide at Clearwater Air Park

    News

    CLEARWATER — Two people suffered minor injuries after a helicopter and a small aircraft collided late Saturday afternoon at Clearwater Air Park, 1000 N Hercules Ave.

    Clearwater Fire Department emergency personal douse a plane with fire retardant after the plane crashed into a helicopter at Clearwater Air Park 1000 N Hercules Ave. Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. According to Clearwater Fire two people sustained minor injuries. [Photo by Clearwater Fire Department]