Highway to be closed for days after train hit semi

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A section of U.S. Highway 12 in western Minnesota is still closed, a day after a train hit a semi truck hauling anhydrous ammonia, which crews scrambled to clean up as it continued to leak throughout the day, the West Central Tribune reported in an update Wednesday morning.

The key stretch of highway in the area will be closed for days to come, the Star Tribune reports.

The 102-car train hauling oil from North Dakota to Missouri hit the semi near the town of Murdock at about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. Four people were treated at a nearby hospital and two were airlifted for further treatment, the West Central Tribune reported late Wednesday.

The driver was identified as Eric E. Westin, 45, of Pine City, Minn., and he remained in serious condition, the Star Tribune reported.

Elementary school students were evacuated as a precaution, but they were to be back in their classrooms Wednesday morning, MPR reported.

Volunteer firefighters spent much of Tuesday hauling water to the site to keep a spray of water on the leaking tank. By mid-afternoon, 60,000 gallons of water had been hauled, the Tribune reported.

The damaged semi tank held an estimated 9,000 gallons of anhydrous ammonia, the vapors of which can cause damage to eyes and respiratory systems. A hazardous materials team was attempting to transfer the anhydrous ammonia from the damaged tank to another, the Tribune reported.

The accident site is near the Koch Nitrogen Co. fertilizer terminal west of Murdock.

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