A freight train carrying ethanol came off the tracks near Raymond in the US’ Minnesota state, on Thursday.
The Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) train had numerous rail cars derail on the western edge of Raymond but within the city limits, Xinhua news agency reported.
Several of the derailed tankers started on fire and were determined to be carrying “a form of ethanol and others with a corn syrup liquid”, according to the statement.
The site remains active as the fire is being contained. No travel is advised to Raymond, a small town in southwest Kandiyohi County, Minnesota, of about 800 residents.
An evacuation area of half a mile (roughly 804 meters) was established around the crash site and law enforcement and emergency crew assisted with that evacuation, the sheriff’s office said.
Residents were instructed to leave their homes and an emergency collection site for those with nowhere to go was established at a school building in Prinsburg, Minnesota.
BNSF Railway, which operates one of the largest freight railroad networks in North America, tweeted on Thursday morning that it can confirm that a train derailed at 1:02 a.m. local time on Thursday near Raymond.
Approximately 22 cars carrying mixed freight including ethanol and corn syrup are reported to be derailed with four cars on fire, according to the railroad.
There are no other hazardous materials on the train and no injuries as a result of the incident. BNSF field personnel are onsite to assess the derailment site and are working closely with local first responders.
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 US National Transportation Safety Board said on Thursday morning that it is launching a team to conduct a safety investigation into the Raymond train derailment.
Governor of Minnesota Tim Walz tweeted that he has been briefed on the situation unfolding in Raymond and is on his way to the site of the derailment.
“The state stands ready to protect the health and safety of the community,” Walz said.
Train derailments are common in the United States and have attracted more media and public attention after an early February incident in East Palestine, Ohio, which involved a Norfolk Southern freight train carrying hazardous materials.
According to US Department of Transportation data, there were an average of 1,475 train derailments per year between 2005 and 2021.