Sheriff urges N.D. town to evacuate as derailed oil train burns

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Authorities urged residents of Casselton, North Dakota, to evacuate their homes Monday after a train derailment and collision caused several oil tank cars to explode into a fireball.

The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead has the statement from the Cass County, N.D., sheriff's department, recommending that anyone in Casselton or within five miles south and east of the city evacuate immediately.

In its coverage of the accident the Forum reports a westbound train carrying grain derailed Monday afternoon. It was then hit by an eastbound oil train, which also derailed, the newspaper says.

The collision caused an explosion that sent flames shooting skyward and created a plume of black smoke visible for miles. A sheriff's spokeswoman tells Minnesota Public Radio 10 cars on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe oil train caught fire and were being allowed to burn out.

No one was injured by the blast and as the Star Tribune reports, the evacuation notice is a precaution. It was spurred by a weather forecast suggesting winds would blow the plume of smoke back into the town of 2,300, which is about 25 miles west of Fargo.

Valley News Live reports the Red Cross has set up a shelter for as many as 500 people with staff that includes a mental health professional.

MPR posted video of the fireball to YouTube.

Valley News also had video from the scene.

Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

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