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Minnesota Train Disaster: Ethanol Derailment Sparks Mass Evacuations

A train carrying ethanol derailed and caught fire in Raymond, Minnesota early Thursday morning, causing an evacuation for nearby residents. The Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the derailment at around 1:00 a.m., and about 22 cars carrying ethanol and corn syrup derailed, with four cars on fire. Fortunately, there were no injuries and no other hazardous materials on the train. The cause of the derailment is under investigation, and the Federal Railroad Administration will be involved in the investigation. Authorities established a half-mile evacuation area around the crash site, and some residents went to an emergency collection site in nearby Prinsburg, Minnesota. The site remains active as the fire is being contained, and BNSF personnel are on site working with first responders. The main track is blocked, and it’s unclear when it will be reopened. This derailment comes after another BNSF train carrying corn syrup derailed earlier this month in Arizona and two high-profile Norfolk Southern derailments in Ohio, one of which carried toxic chemicals. Train derailments are not uncommon in the US, with about three per day on average, though they are usually not major disasters.


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