A train carrying ethanol derailed in Raymond, Minnesota, leading to several cars erupting in flames and local residents evacuating the nearby area, officials announced Thursday (March 30) morning.
An estimated 22 rail cars “carrying mixed freight including ethanol and corn syrup” were reported to have derailed in the accident, BNSF Railway announced in a statement obtained by NBC News. The Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office said it received a report regarding a train derailment at around 1:00 a.m. local time and confirmed that several of the derailed tanks caught on fire.
An evacuation area was established within a half mile from the site of the crash as law enforcement officials and EMS personnel worked to get local residents to safety.
No injuries were reported in relation to the crash and the cause of the derailment remains under investigation, BNSF Railway confirmed in its statement. The main track has been blocked as a result of the derailment and the company said it wasn’t clear when it would reopen.
The derailment also led to an ongoing temporary closure on Highway 23 at Raymond from Kandiyohi CR1 to Chippewa CR 1, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg confirmed that the Federal Railroad Administration was also present at the scene of the derailment.
“FRA is on the ground after a BNSF train carrying ethanol derailed early this morning, leading to an evacuation in the area of Raymond, MN. At present no injuries or fatalities have been reported. We are tracking closely as more details emerge and will be involved in investigaton,” Buttigieg tweeted.
The crash comes one month after a Norfolk Southern freight train derailed in East Palestine, which resulted in several cars burning from hazardous materials being carried. No injuries were reported, but nearby neighborhoods in northeast Ohio and bordering Pennsylvania were imperiled, with nearly 5,000 residents of East Palestine evacuating and local officials launching an emergency response, as well as speculation of potential long-term health impacts to those exposed.