Railway hazmat team arrives at N.D. train derailment, explosion site

Dec. 31, 2013 at 11:54 AM

CASSELTON, N.D., Dec. 31 (UPI) -- A BNSF Railway hazardous materials team began testing air quality Tuesday near a train derailment and explosion in North Dakota, officials said.

The derailment and explosion occurred Monday. BNSF Railway spokeswoman Amy McBeth told media outlets the blaze was ignited when a westbound grain train derailed and crashed into an eastbound crude oil train, causing it to leave the tracks about a mile west of Casselton.

No injuries were reported.

The Red Cross says 17 people stayed in an emergency shelter in Fargo and a shelter at the Casselton library had about 50 people, including responders, state and federal officials, emergency management and law enforcement personnel, KXJB-TV, Fargo, reported.

The Sheriff's Office said Monday night it "strongly" recommended Casselton residents and anyone living 5 miles to the south and east of the accident evacuate to shelters in Fargo, about 25 miles away. KXJB said about 65 percent of residents evacuated the area.

Federal Railroad Administration spokesman Kevin Thompson told NBC News the agency was sending investigators to the scene.

"The Federal Railroad Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration have investigative teams en route to North Dakota and will work in concert with the National Transportation Safety Board, the lead investigator, to ascertain all the relevant facts that may have contributed to the accident," he said.

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