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Derailment forces evacuation of North Dakota town, health depart - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

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Derailment forces evacuation of North Dakota town, health department issues warning

Posted: Updated:
(KXNews photo) (KXNews photo)
CBS Newspath Chicago posted this photo of a huge plume of smoke from N.D. oil tanker derailment CBS Newspath Chicago posted this photo of a huge plume of smoke from N.D. oil tanker derailment
ANother photo of the N.D. oil tanker derailment from CBS Newspath ANother photo of the N.D. oil tanker derailment from CBS Newspath
BISMARCK, N.D. -

Sarah Feinberg, the acting federal railroad administrator, issued this statement:

"A crude oil train has derailed near Heimdal, North Dakota this morning, resulting in a large fire involving several tank cars. The town of Heimdal is being evacuated. The FRA has deployed a ten person investigation team to the site and will be conducting a thorough investigation into the cause of the accident. Today's incident is yet another reminder of why we issued a significant, comprehensive rule aimed at improving the safe transport of high hazard flammable liquids. The FRA will continue to look at all options available to us to improve safety and mitigate risks.”

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North Dakota Department of Health issued this advisory about train derailment: 

The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) is monitoring air quality near the town of Heimdal, N.D., which was the site of a train derailment and fire earlier today. The NDDoH advises people with respiratory issues to avoid the smoke from the burning rail cars. Heimdal is located between the cities of Harvey and New Rockford in Wells County.

The Health Department's primary concern at this time is particulate matter contained in the smoke generated from the fire. High levels of particulate matter may harm the passages of the nose, airways and lungs. It may cause shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, coughing, itching, red or watery eyes, and black mucous. The smoke plume is not dispersing well because of current weather conditions. Much of the smoke is remaining close to the ground, where it has greater potential to exacerbate breathing problems.

The North Dakota Department of Health has issued the following health advisory for people in the area who have respiratory conditions:

People with respiratory conditions, such as asthma, emphysema or bronchitis, should stay inside (except for purposes of evacuating), close their windows, and minimize activity outdoors People who may experience symptoms of respiratory distress should seek medical care immediately. Anyone who is concerned about the smoke may choose to stay indoors

Area residents should monitor local news for future advisories from the NDDoH. For more information, contact Dave Glatt at 701.328.5150.

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BNSF released this statement Wednesday morning: 

"At approximately 7:30 am CDT today, a train operating approximately 50 miles east of Minot, ND derailed carrying crude oil. Initial reports from the crew indicate there are no injuries but a fire has been reported at the scene. The tank cars involved in the incident are the unjacketed CPC-1232 models. BNSF will work with the nearest first responders."

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The North Dakota Department of Emergency Services confirms 10 rail tank cars are burning near Hamberg, N.D. following an early morning derailment. 

A spokesperson for the department said the nearby town of Heimdal has been evacuated. About 40 people live in the town located northeast of Bismarck.

 No injuries or fatalities have been reported.

Units from Devils Lake, Fessenden, Harvey and Hamburg responded to the incident. Regional Hazmat units from Grand Forks and Devil's Lake are also on scene. 

NDDES reports that 10 cars are currently burning, the others have been detached and moved away. A spokesperson for DES says the line is operated by Burlington Northern­-Sante Fe railroad.

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