Oil Train Derailed: North Dakota Town Evacuated After Fiery Incident

Oil train derailed in North Dakota, investigators looking into fiery incident

An oil train was derailed in North Dakota on May 6, 2015. After catching fire, the vehicle caused the evacuation of Heimdal’s few dozen residents.

The small town, approximately a two-plus-hour drive Northeast of Bismark, is home to around three dozen people, all of which are currently safe and living with family and friends, says Wells County Emergency Manager, Tammy Roehrich.

It is unknown what caused the derailment, which threatened the lives of the residents of Heimdal. Cecily Fong of State Emergency Services claims that ten tanker cars are on fire, and creating a thick black smoke. According to ABC News, investigators are expected to arrive on the scene by mid-day.

A media statement from Warren Buffet-owned BNSF, the railway company whose oil train was derailed, was released shortly after the incident.

“At approximately 7:30 am CDT today, a train operating approximately 50 miles east of Minot, ND derailed carrying crude oil. Initial reports from the crew indicate there are no injuries but a fire has been reported at the scene. The tank cars involved in the incident are the unjacketed CPC-1232 models. BNSF will work with the nearest first responders.”

The oil train fire could create problems if the incident isn’t taken cared of quickly. Heimdal hosts a major rail line which supplies oil from the giant Bakken oil batch, approximately two-thirds of all North Dakota oil production.

Gas prices along the East Coast may be expected to rise as the situation develops, with BNSF hosting a major supply of oil to be refined.

The accident could have been much worse, as in July 2013, a similar derailment in the Canadian town of Lac Megantic resulted in the deaths of 47 people, says NBC News.

The oil train having been derailed in North Dakota is one of many incidents which brings forth the question of whether it would be safer to use a pipeline instead of railroads to deliver crude oil.

[Image via Justin Sullivan / Getty Images]