A BNSF Railway train carrying crude oil derailed in North Dakota, setting several tank cars on fire and prompting the evacuation of nearby residents, U.S. and local authorities said Wednesday.
The Federal Railroad Administration sent a 10-person team to the site near the town of Heimdal to determine the cause of the accident, acting administrator Sarah Feinberg said.
Heimdal is unincorporated and had a population of 27, according to the 2010 U.S. census.
“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,” Feinberg said. “The FRA will continue to look at all options available to us to improve safety and mitigate risks.”
The train had 109 tank cars carrying crude, of which six or seven derailed, according to Deputy Janelle Pepple of the Wells County sheriff’s office. The railroad agency said there was “a large fire involving several tank cars.”
The accident occurred about 7:30 a.m. local time, said Michael Trevino, a spokesman for BNSF, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway.
U.S. regulators want the industry to upgrade the CPC-1232 cars that were involved in Wednesday’s derailment. Built to the current industry standard, the cars can overheat and explode in a fire more quickly than previously thought, the National Transportation Safety Board said last month.