(Washington) A train derailed in the northern United States early Thursday, and several of its wagons carrying ethanol caught fire, forcing the evacuation of residents, two months after a similar incident in Ohio, police said.
The train, operated by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF), derailed around 1 a.m. (2 a.m. Eastern Time) in the town of Raymond, Minnesota.
“Firefighters from Raymond and several surrounding towns attended the scene where several of the derailed tank cars had caught fire,” Kandiyohi County Sheriff Eric Tollefson said in a statement. These cars carried “one form of ethanol”, and others carried corn syrup.
An evacuation order has been issued for people residing approximately half a mile from the derailment area and travel to the town of Raymond is discouraged, the statement added.
There were no fatalities or injuries, according to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who said in a tweet that he was following the situation “closely”.
This train was carrying, among other things, vinyl chloride, a carcinogenic and highly flammable chemical used in the manufacture of plastic.
The reaction of the authorities, who had carried out “controlled” releases of vinyl chloride to avoid a possible explosion, releasing toxic fumes, had been widely criticized, the inhabitants reporting suffering from nausea and headaches in particular. An investigation is still ongoing.
Derailments are common in the United States, where 1,164 trains derailed in 2022, an average of 3 per day, according to rail services.