A train hauling ethanol derailed Thursday morning in Raymond, Minnesota, igniting several rail cars and forcing a mandatory evacuation of the city of about 800, officials said.
The fire was still burning more than 14 hours after the derailment, the US Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday afternoon. An EPA team was in Raymond by 6:30 a.m. to conduct air quality monitoring.
The EPA said four cars that contained ethanol, which is highly flammable, “ruptured, caught fire” and continued to burn, and warned Thursday morning there were additional cars containing ethanol that “may also release.”
In a 3 p.m. update, the agency said the four cars burning had “denatured ethanol – ethanol containing gasoline to be used as a fuel additive,” and that crews were assessing impacts “to the three remaining denatured ethanol cars.”
The train, operated by BNSF Railway, derailed around 1 a.m. Homes within a half-mile of the derailment were evacuated, the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office said.