A freight train operated by the BNSF Railway Co. and loaded with crude oil from the Bakken Shale derailed and caught fire near Galena, IL, on Thursday. There were no injuries.
According to BNSF, the incident occurred along its mainline track at about 1:20 p.m. CST in a rural area south of Galena, in Jo Daviess County. The train, which originated in North Dakota, had 105 loaded cars -- 103 loaded with crude oil and two buffer cars loaded with sand. BNSF said 21 of the cars derailed.
"An initial pool fire occurred that we believe impacted five rail cars and that fire continues to burn," BNSF said in a statement Friday morning. "Local, state and BNSF Railway emergency personnel are on the scene working to contain the incident. BNSF personnel arrived soon after the event occurred to be part of the response."
Galena Fire Chief Randy Beadle told NGI's Shale Daily that two cars were still burning, but only slightly, as of Friday afternoon. He said the derailment occurred about two to three miles south of town. A one-mile voluntary evacuation zone had been created around the incident site. Two people decided to evacuate, but four stayed in their homes. He also confirmed that there were no injuries.
Beadle confirmed that the train's cargo was Bakken crude, but he said he did not know the train's ultimate destination. He added that it was unclear how long the fire would burn.
"The BNSF crew that's on hand assisting with our fire department was not sure of just how much product was left in the two tanks," Beadle said. "We've got investigators down there right now trying to determine a cause. Once they do their initial investigation, BNSF will be able to go in there and start putting cars back on the rails and try to pump out product and remove the rest of the damaged vessels. Once that happens we'll be in good shape, but it's going to be a drawn out process."
BNSF said it was working with the Federal Railroad Administration to determine the cause of the derailment. The company said all the tank cars involved in the derailment were the unjacketed CPC-1232 model with half-height head shields -- not the weaker DOT-111 model that the U.S. Department of Transportation has been trying to phase out following a series of similar derailments (see Shale Daily, July 25, 2013).
Last month, a 109-car CSX Corp. train loaded with Bakken crude derailed and burned in southern West Virginia (see Shale Daily, Feb. 17). All of the tank cars in that incident were also CPC-1232.