At approximately 7:30 a.m., on May 6, a 109-car train derailed 115 miles
northeast of Bismarck, North Dakota. Six tank cars, each carrying 30,000
gallons of Bakken oil, caught fire. The blaze was so intense that, for
a time, firefighters could not close enough to effectively fight the fire.
Two cars continued to burn into Wednesday evening.
Possible Impact on Air and Water
There was concern over potential water pollution, because the rail line
runs near the Big Slough waterway that drains into the James River at
Bremen, North Dakota. Much depends on how much other oil burns off in
the fire. Following the accident, health officials monitored air quality.
Citizens are to avoid breathing smoke from the fire. The cause of the
explosion was unknown.
Rail Car Controversy
Since February 2015, five different accidents included the same type of
rail car. Ironically, the week before, new federal standards went into
effect that require companies to eliminate or retrofit such cars by 2020.
However, critics demand that this type of tank car be taken out of service
New Federal Regulations
As of April 1, 2015, oil companies must remove butane, propane and other
gases from oil in the tank cars to reduce explosions and fires. The regulations
are to reduce oil volatility to a level similar to that of unleaded gasoline.
A federal railroad administrator said that tests performed on the Bakken
crude by a Texas company will help ascertain regulation compliance.
Federal Investigators Involved
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Transportation Safety
Board (NTSB) and the Federal Railroad Administration are all investigating
abc news, 24 oil train incidents in the United States and Canada lead to fires,
derailments and/or fuel spills since 2006. Although this accident did
not cause any injuries at the outset, the long-term impact is unknown.
When an individual suffers injury in a Bakken accident, he or she may seek
compensation for various losses, including medical expenses incurred and
lost wages. To learn more, please