Explosions Follow North Dakota Train Derailment

Residents near the derailment west of Casselton have been told to leave their homes

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Darrin Radermacher

A fireball shoots up at the site of a train derailment near Casselton, N.D., on Dec. 30, 2013

Updated: 9:18 p.m. E.T.

A fiery train derailment in North Dakota on Monday afternoon has authorities warning residents nearby to evacuate the area, as several train cars carrying oil burned and produced a thick plume of black smoke.

Authorities say the freight train, which was carrying 110 cars, went off the tracks three quarters of a mile west of Casselton and was hit by a second train, according to Valley News Live of Fargo, N.D.

Late Monday, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office was “strongly recommending” Casselton’s 2,400 residents and anyone living within 5 miles to the south and east leave their homes. A shelter has been set up about 25 miles away in Fargo.

Alan Runck, a spokesperson for the Casselton Fire Department, confirmed no one had been injured in the crash, but said several cars filled with oil were burning. “Crude oil is draining out of the tankers. That’s just burning right now,” he said.

Runck said the wind was forecast to change and blow eastward later in the evening, leading to the possibility that oily smoke could blanket Casselton. “Our biggest concern is the wind right now,” he said.

North Dakota’s Department of Emergency Services has activated hazardous-materials personnel and coordinated with the Federal Aviation Authority to place flight restrictions on the area.

[Valley News Live]

This article has been updated from the original with the latest advice regarding evacuations.