Train carrying hazardous materials derails in northwest Minnesota

A train carrying hazardous material derailed in northwest Minnesota on Wednesday afternoon, but officials say there were no injuries and no immediate signs of leaking vapor or liquids.

At least two dozen cars were derailed, some of which contained flammable liquid, but none of it escaped the cars, according to the Lancaster Fire Department.

“At around 1600 tonight, LFD responded to a train derailment along Highway 59. Approximately 27 cars have derailed, some of which were carrying flammable Liquid NOS. The Liquid NOS stayed confined within the cars. No injuries have been reported, and we are all home safe for the evening,” the department posted on Facebook following the derailment.

LFD added that a section of Highway 59 would be closed “while the professionals get this cleaned up.” The Minnesota Department of Transportation said the clean-up process could take two or three days.

Gov. Tim Walz (D) said Wednesday night that the site is “contained” and that experts would soon survey the area to evaluate the damage.

“State officials are working with local emergency managers after a train derailed near Lancaster. Glad to hear that no injuries are reported and the site is contained. Experts are on the way to survey the site and make sure the community has everything they need,” Walz wrote on Twitter Wednesday night.

Scot Olson, the Kittson County Emergency Management Director, said there were 24 cars in the train, eight of which were empty.

“The area of derailment was in a remote area of the county and there were no homes in the proximity of the derailment that would become a concern, had the incident escalated,” he said.

“Initial responders found NO fire, no leaking vapor or liquids, and the railroad crew was not injured. While there were no active leaks, first responders took precautions to cover nearby culverts that would have access to local watersheds in case that situation changed.”

The incident follows other recent derailments in Minnesota, including one last weekend near St. Cloud, Minnesota, and one in March near Raymond, Minnesota.

According to local reporting, the investigation into the Raymond derailment determined the cause was likely fractured rail, prompting lawmakers to call for higher safety standards.

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