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ND community evacuated after explosion

31 December 2013 11:42

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A small community in the US state of North Dakota was evacuated Monday evening after a train carrying crude oil collided with another train near Fargo, setting off a large fire and explosions.

No injuries were reported.

Sgt. Tara Morris of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office said the department received a report at 2:12 p.m. of a train derailing about a mile west of Casselton, a city about 20 miles west of Fargo.

The accident occurred when the derailed train hit the crude oil train causing the explosions, said Steven Forsberg, a spokeswoman for BNSF Railway.

“A fire ensued, and quickly a number of the cars became engulfed,” Los Angeles Times quoted Morris as saying.

He said firefighters had managed to detach 50 of the 104 cars on the oil train but had to leave the rest.

“They can’t fight the fire due to the extremes of the explosion and high temperatures,” Morris said. “They’re just letting the oil burn off at this point.”

The National Transportation Safety Board was set to start investigation on Tuesday.

This is the fourth serious accident this year involving trains hauling crude in North America. In July, a train carrying crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken shale fields rolled downhill and set off an explosion in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, killing more than 40 people. Two other similar accidents followed but they had not fatalities.

US railroads are moving 25 times more crude than they did in 2008, according to the newspaper. The crude oil is transported in trains with more than 100 tank cars that each carries 30,000 gallons.

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