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Derailment cleanup in Raymond, Minnesota, proceeding with little disruption to town

BNSF Railway provided Raymond residents with $300 gift cards as cleanup continues at a fast pace after a train derailed there Thursday forcing evacuation.

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Workers pull train cars into position Tuesday, April 4, 2023, to be loaded onto semitrailers as train cars are removed from the derailment site in Raymond.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

RAYMOND โ€” Cleanup at the Raymond derailment site is continuing at a fast pace, and with little disruption for residents in the community.

Mayor Ardell Tensen told the West Central Tribune on Wednesday that the cleanup has been going well, and things are otherwise very much back to normal for residents in the community.

He said the railroad has been removing some of the damaged cars. They have been removing corn syrup from some of the cars before moving them.

The derailment in the very early morning hours of Thursday, March 30, involved 22 rail cars carrying ethanol and corn syrup.

First responders on the scene focused on containing the fires that resulted from the ruptured ethanol cars.

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A worker walks past derailed train cars in Raymond on Tuesday, April 4, 2023.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

Tensen said the BNSF Railway company provided every resident of the community with a $300 gift card on Saturday. Residents needed only to go to the Raymond Christian Reformed Church in Raymond and show identification to receive their card.

The goodwill gesture was for the disruption residents experienced when they were evacuated from their homes during the night of the derailment. Officials previously said that volunteers and law enforcement personnel had knocked on the doors of an estimated 250 houses and residences in the community to notify them to leave.

BNSF has a claims line for residents who experienced losses due to the derailment. Tensen said he has not heard of any significant damage claims. He has heard that some people submitted claims for lost wages due to the evacuation.

No one was hurt in the derailment, and no significant damage was reported to property in the community. Tensen credited BNSF with doing a really good job in its response to the derailment and the subsequent cleanup.

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Workers continue cleanup efforts on Tuesday, April 4, 2023, at the site of a 22-car BNSF train derailment in Raymond early in the morning on Thursday, March 30.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

The railroad quickly brought its representatives and its own fire department on site to assist with the response to the derailment, he added.

Tensen said the community is very thankful to all of its neighboring communities and the volunteers who provided assistance. He said the list of agencies responding to the event posted on the Kandiyohi County Sheriffโ€™s Office page on Facebook helps show how communities throughout the area rallied on behalf of his community.

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Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoors reporter for the West Central Tribune.
He has been a reporter with the West Central Tribune since 1993.

Cherveny can be reached via email at tcherveny@wctrib.com or by phone at 320-214-4335.
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