N.D. Oil Train Burns After Derailment, Collision

9:13 PM, Dec 30, 2013   |    comments
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Michael Winter, USA TODAY

A train carrying crude oil derailed Monday afternoon in North Dakota and was apparently hit by a second train, triggering explosions and a smoky fire that could be seen for miles, according to authorities and residents.

An estimated 10 tank cars were on fire, authorities said. No injuries were reported among the train crews.

By early evening, the Cass County Sheriff's Office was preparing to evacuate some residents as a precaution, because winds may shift.

The eastbound, 106-car Burlington Northern Santa Fe train derailed about 2:10 p.m. CT (4:10 p.m. ET) just west of Casselton, near Fargo, a rail company spokeswoman toldInforum.

Initial reports indicated that another freight then plowed into the derailment, but the sheriff's office said about 5 p.m. that it remained unclear which train was hit.

"At this time we're dealing with the fire, and we can't even get close enough to determine that," Sgt. Tara Morris told Inforum.

Residents within a two-mile radius were warned to stay inside. One resident about a half-mile from the derailment told KVLY-TV she could see large flames. Smoke could be seen 15 miles away.

Casselton, population 2,300, is the hometown of the state's current governor, Jack Dalrymple, and four predecessors.

With the development of the massive Bakken formation, North Dakota is now one of nation's top oil states. In October, nearly 1 million barrels were produced.

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