A train carrying ethanol and corn syrup caught fire after derailing in Minnesota early Thursday, forcing nearby residents to evacuate their homes as a precaution.
In a statement, BNSF Railway said approximately 22 cars derailed.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNN the release of ethanol led to a fire.
According to BNSF, four of the derailed cars caught on fire.
Buttigieg stated, “We’ve been in touch with the governor,” and added that EPA representatives were on their way to the derailment scene because of the hazardous material situation.
Due to its high flammability, ethanol exposure can cause coughing, lightheadedness, eye burning, sleepiness, and even coma.
Buttigieg said he had not heard of any fatalities or injuries brought on by the derailment.
About 1 am, the BNSF train derailed near Raymond, a community of around 800 people about 100 miles west of Minneapolis, according to a statement from Kandiyohi County Sheriff Eric Tollefson. The anticipated time for the train line’s reopening has not been given by BNSF.
According to Tollefson, the train had many rail cars derail and several catch fire. It has not yet been determined what caused the derailment.
Tollefson said that all residences within half a mile of the incident had been evacuated. According to the sheriff’s office, residents have been relocated to a shelter in the adjacent city of Prinsburg and travel is not recommended via Raymond.
Better look at @BNSFRailway 22 car train derailment now that it’s lighter out. Cars carrying ethanol and corn syrup. Been burning since 1am. 1/2 mile radius around crash has been evacuated. @MnDOTsouthwest reporting hwy 23 will be closed until TOMORROW at noon @WCCO pic.twitter.com/pQwxW8jrSk
— Pauleen Le (@PauleenLe) March 30, 2023
After trying to put the automobiles out of commission, according to fire authorities, they are letting the ethanol burn out.
When a Norfolk Southern train derailed in a horrific accident last month in East Palestine, Ohio, railroad safety received more attention on a national level.
The decision to discharge and burn dangerous chemicals forced the government of the small town of around 5,000 residents near the Pennsylvania border to order the evacuation of nearly half of the community.
Widespread criticism of the first response to the incident prompted Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost to file a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern for the “entirely avoidable” hazardous catastrophe.
The federal lawsuit, which was filed earlier this month, claims that “The derailment was entirely avoidable and the direct result of Norfolk Southern’s practice of putting its own profits above the health, safety and welfare of the communities in which Norfolk Southern operates.”