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Train carrying oil derails near Casselton, N.D. (with video)

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By Erik Burgess

Forum News Service

CASSELTON, N.D. – A train that derailed about a mile west of Casselton was eastbound carrying crude oil, according to a BNSF  Railway  spokeswoman.

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Emergency and firefighting crews are responding to the derailment, which Amy McBeth, a spokeswoman for BNSF, said occurred about 2:10 p.m.

McBeth said no crew members on the train were injured during the accident. The train was 106 cars long, she said.

McBeth said she didn’t know the train’s destination or how many cars derailed.

Thick, black smoke could be seen from around 15 miles outside of town.

City Auditor Sheila Klevgard sent out an email to Casselton residents about 3 p.m., advising residents to stay in their homes as “there is a Haz-mat incident west of town.” She also advised residents to not call 911 or the sheriff’s office for updates.

Eva Fercho, a Casselton homeowner, said she noticed thick, black smoke about 2 p.m., and that it appears the smoke and possibly the derailment is coming from near an ethanol plant on the west side of town.

“The sky is totally black from smoke,” Fercho said.

She said that she heard two explosions not long after she saw the smoke.

“I could almost feel the house shake in that (second explosion),” Fercho said. “It was loud.”

Casselton is about 20 miles west of Fargo.

Sgt. Tara Morris of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office said deputies have been dispatched to the accident, but she said about 2:40 p.m. that they hadn’t arrived yet and so don’t know the severity of the accident.

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The Forum Communications News Service is the premier news wire service covering the Upper Midwest, stretching from the oilfields of western North Dakota to the plains of South Dakota and to the shores of eastern Minnesota. For more information about the services we offer or to discuss content subscriptions, please contact us.
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