UpdateMinnesota train collision with ammonia tanker injures four

07 May 2013 23:11  [Source: ICIS news]

(Updates throughout)

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Four people were injured on Tuesday when a freight train crashed into a truck carrying anhydrous ammonia in western Minnesota, resulting in fertilizer leak that led to the evacuation of a nearby school and the closure of an adjacent highway.

The collision involved a Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) train traveling east that struck the rear of a semi truck carrying approximately 9,000 gal of ammonia at about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Investigators said the privately owned truck was headed north just west of the Koch Nitrogen plant, which is located outside of the small community of Murdock along US Highway 12.

Officials said the truck was struck while traveling past a railroad crossing. In addition to the driver being injured in the crash, three crew members from the train were also taken to the hospital, authorities said.

BNSF spokesperson Amy McBeth said their employees were treated and released.

There was no additional information about the driver of the truck as of Tuesday afternoon.

McBeth said the train did not derail but did not know the extent of any damage to the train. She confirmed the train was heading to Kansas City, Missouri, from North Dakota carrying crude oil as its only cargo.

No oil was released due to the accident, and the leak was deemed small with officials working to remove the remaining fertilizer from the damaged vehicle into another container as of late Tuesday, she said.

“There were 102 cars with three locomotives in this accident. At this point it has not moved out but we expect it will,” McBeth said. “As is standard in these types of incidents, it has remained while state and local authorities conduct their investigation.”

While authorities did not feel there was any immediate danger to the public, an elementary school was evacuated as a precaution and traffic was diverted from the area as a further means to protect individuals in the immediate vicinity.

State transportation officials kept US Highway 12 closed as of Thursday evening. Additionally, because of concerns about the possibility of drifting fumes that were said to be spreading in a northwesterly direction, authorities were trying to keep residents who live in a two-mile radius away from possible exposure.

By: Mark Milam
+1 713 525 2653

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