Update: People can return home after train carrying flammable liquid derailed

Ellendale was evacuated and the schools were closed for the day.
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A train derailment between Owatonna and Albert Lea shut down surrounding services and businesses for several hours Friday morning.

A Union Pacific train carrying propane and butane derailed around 5:45 a.m. near the southern Minnesota city of Ellendale. It prompted part of the city to evacuate and officials to close schools for the day, according to a news release.

Because some of the train cars appeared to be leaking flammable material, residents were asked to stay away. Airspace around the derailment site was also closed, the Owatonna People's Press reports. Officials closed roads in the area too, including Highway 30.

But around noon Friday, people were given the all-clear to return to their homes, air space restrictions were removed, and many roads reopened, Steel County officials say, noting that "there is no threat to the public outside of the 'hot zone' of 400 feet" around the derailment site. That area remains closed to the public until further notice.

Local agencies and officials from Union Pacific Railroad remain on the scene. The railroad will be tasked with removing and cleaning up the area once it's safe to do so, officials say.

No injuries have been reported in connection to the incident.

Ellendale, which is home to more than 700 people, was built because of the railroad, and that's how it got it's name, too – Ellen Dale was the wife of a railroad president, the city's website says. (For more on Ellendale's ties to the railroad, check out this MPR News story.)

Rail safety has been a major concern in Minnesota in recent years, which has prompted Gov. Mark Dayton and other politicians to push for railroad enhancements across the state.

There have been about 20 train derailments this year, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.

For more information on what state officials are doing to prevent derailments, click here.

Tweets from the scene

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