Montana Train Fire: Rail Cars Full Of Alcohol Derail, Burst Into Flame, Explode

Sixteen rail cars full of alcohol caught fire in an unpopulated area of eastern Montana and six exploded after a freight train derailed on Sunday.

Fifteen of the rail cars carried denatured alcohol, a fuel additive, and one contained cardboard. They derailed on Sunday between Baker and Ismay, sending at least one mushroom cloud into the air, reports The Seattle Times.

The derailment sent flames 70 feet into the air and the rail cars burned through the night. Thankfully no one was hurt. Burlington Northern Santa Fe spokesman Gus Melonas stated of the accident that:

“It was a chain reaction of one car catching fire and another car catching fire as well.”

Kelly Gray, a firefighter from Plevna, was at the scene of the Montana train fire and captured a picture of the flames as one car exploded. Gray recalled:


“We were just waiting for the cars to blow up and got a good mushroom percussion. The heat felt like your eyebrows were going to singe.”

Fox News reports that the 16 cars were party of a 106-car train that was headed from Aberdeen, S.D. to Laurel and was traveling at 23 mph when the cars derailed. Crews will need to remove the damaged cars and replace roughly 1,100 feet of track and ties. The line will hopefully reopen Wednesday. Yahoo! News notes that on Sunday, Melonas explained that:

“Eight cars are on fire. It was a chain reaction of one car catching fire and another car catching fire as well. It’s a fuel additive. There are no air-quality issues. They are letting the product burn.”

Thankfully, no one was injured in the 16-car Montana train fire.