UPDATE: Fire is out, people return home after oil train derails - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Fire is out, people return home after oil train derails

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Courtesy Jennifer Willis Courtesy Jennifer Willis

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- Residents who were evacuated from their homes in a central North Dakota town when an oil train derailed and caught fire have returned.

Wells County Commission Chairman Mark Schmitz says the 20 people who live in Heimdal were allowed to return about 9 p.m. Wednesday after the fire died down.

Residents were ordered from their homes shortly after the BNSF Railway train derailed Wednesday morning outside the town, about 115 miles northeast of Bismarck.

No injuries have been reported. The cause of the wreck isn't known.

The train was hauling crude from the state's oil patch, raising questions about whether new state standards intended to reduce the volatility of such shipments are sufficient.

Officials also are investigating whether any oil contaminated waterways in the area.

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HEIMDAL, N.D. (AP) -- A small town in central North Dakota has been evacuated after an oil train derailed and caught fire.

Wells County Emergency Manager Tammy Roehrich says no injuries have been reported from the Wednesday morning accident in a rural area outside Heimdal, a town about 115 miles northeast of Bismarck.

Authorities say 10 tanker cars are on fire, creating thick black smoke. State Emergency Services spokeswoman Cecily Fong says the train engine and cars that aren't burning have been decoupled and moved to safety.

It's unclear how many cars were part of the train, or how many derailed. There's no immediate word on the cause.

Roehrich says about 35 people left the town and are staying with family and friends.

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BNSF released the following statement Wednesday morning:

"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."

A BNSF train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded near Galena, Illinois in March. There's no word yet where the train (that derailed on Wednesday) was heading.

Last week, KWWL aired a special report about the danger small towns in northeast Iowa face because of the increase in crude oil traffic on the rails. You can watch that report right here.


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