Public safely officials in Casselton, North Dakota, say 2 to 3 train cars are still on fire and thick smoke continues to pour over the small town, which was largely evacuated yesterday after a mile-long train carrying crude oil derailed and set off explosions.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the derailment.
Train company officials say a train carrying grain derailed first, knocking several cars of the oncoming oil train off the tracks. No one was injured.
North Dakota has been experiencing an oil drilling boom and the state’s top oil regulator says that nearly all of the state’s oil would be carried by train in the coming year, up from 60% currently.
“It was probably the most impressive thing that I never, ever want to see again,” Cass County Sheriff, Paul Laney told Here & Now’s Robin Young of the explosion.
“We’ve been very, very lucky,” Laney continued. “Had that train been one half mile east, it would have been in the city limits of Casselton, and the devastation would have been pretty big. While we’re dealing with a lot, it could have been a lot worse.”