The southeastern North Dakota town escaped a tragedy when a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded nearby, said the Mayor on Tuesday morning. He further announced that this incident indicates that major changes are needed in the transportation of crude oil across the United States of America. Most residents had evacuated the area overnight as strong winds blew hazardous acrid smoke and soot towards the town overnight.
Officials warned the residents that potentially toxic smoke could blow into the town. About 2400 residents of Casselton, North Dakota, were called on by officials in Cass County. ‘I drove in this morning and looked like most people had left. There weren’t a lot of lights on,’ said the Mayor Ed McConnell early Tuesday morning. ‘There have been numerous derailments in this area,’ informed McConnell, ‘It’s almost gotten to the point that it looks like not if we’re going to have an accident, it’s when. We dodged a bullet by having it out of town, but this is too close for comfort.’
A grain train derailed approximately one mile away from Casselton on Monday afternoon which caused a second train, carrying crude oil, to derail. Both conductors escaped the scene and no injuries were reported. More than 20 train cars were set on fire which caused a huge explosion in the form of a fireball which could be seen from miles away. The cars were allowed to burn overnight before the authorities tackled the blaze. The health implication to residents nearby are still to be seen. ‘Is it highly hazardous, or did most of it just burn off in the fire?’ said the Cass County Sheriff, Paul Laney. ‘We just don’t know.’
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