New evidence emerged today showing carrying oil by rail, despite industry assurances to the contrary, is incredibly dangerous. A train carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire Wednesday morning, forcing authorities to evacuate the nearby town of Heimdal, ND.
The crash involved just 10 tanker cars in a 109-car Burlington Northern Santa Fe train, Wells County Deputy Sheriff and 911 Director Janelle Pepple confirmed. No injuries have yet to be reported.
Heimdal is located in the central part of the state, about two hours northeast of the capital Bismarck. Surrounding farmsteads were also evacuated, according to officials.
Hazmat teams, state Highway Patrol and firefighters from at least four communities responded to the scene, which was fiery and had a significant amount of spilled oil.
Sarah Feinberg, of the Federal Railroad Administration, said the agency is sending a 10-person team to investigate the cause of the accident.
"Today's incident is yet another reminder of why we issued a significant, comprehensive rule aimed at improving the safe transport of high-hazard flammable liquids," Feinberg said in a statement. "The FRA will continue to look at all options available to us to improve safety and mitigate risks."
Late last week, the Department of Transportation and Canadian Transportation Ministry jointly announced stricter regulations for train oil tanker cars with the purpose of improving safety and reducing accidents.
The tank cars involved in Wednesday's accident were unjacketed CPC-1232 models, one of the tanker cars the DOT targeted to phase out within five years under the new standards.
Many derailments in recent years have involved oil from the Bakken shale, primarily located in North Dakota, which has seen a boom in production in the last half decade.