Residents Evacuated After Train Derailment and Fire in Minnesota

Residents in Raymond, Minnesota were evacuated Thursday after a train derailed and caught fire. Officials were still on the scene at the time of this writing.

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Residents have been evacuated following a train derailment in Raymond, Minnesota.

According to an initial statement from the Raymond Fire Department, the derailment occurred around 1 a.m. local time on Thursday, at which point locals were urged to seek shelter at a school in nearby Prinsburg. A highway was quickly closed in connection with the derailment, which authorities said also resulted in a fire as of 3 a.m. local time.

A more in-depth statement from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office revealed that emergency personnel had been sent to the location of the derailment, where they found “numerous rail cars” and derailed within Raymond city limits. Several affected tankers caught fire, spurring a multi-agency response.

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The burning tankers, according to local law enforcement, have been determined to have been carrying what’s been described as “a form of ethanol” and “a corn syrup liquid.” 

As for the extent of the ensuing evacuation, the latest press release from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office said that  an area of a half mile had been established in connection with the site of the derailment. Meanwhile, the advised shelter location has since been changed to the Unity Church in Prinsburg.

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

The train was operated by BNSF Railway, per KARE 11. When reached by Complex for comment, a BNSF rep confirmed that a train had derailed in the Raymond area on Thursday, adding that the cause of the derailment remains under investigation. See the rep’s full statement below.

“BNSF can confirm that on March 30th, at 1:02 am local time a train derailed near Raymond, MN.  Approximately 22 cars carrying mixed freight including ethanol and corn syrup are reported to be derailed with four cars on fire.  There are no other hazardous materials on the train and no injuries as a result of the incident.  BNSF field personnel are responding to assess the derailment site and will be working closely with local first responders.  Residents and businesses impacted by the incident can contact 866-243-4784 for assistance.  The main track is blocked and an estimated time for reopening the line is not available. The cause of the incident is under investigation.”

The news out of Minnesota comes as questions and concerns still remain surrounding last month’s derailment of a train carrying dangerous chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio. Earlier this month, the National Transportation Safety Board announced that it would be carrying out an extensive investigation into Norfolk Southern Railway in connection with the toxic train derailment and other recent incidents involving the company.

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