Oil Train Derails and Catches Fire in Oregon
Fire crews have extinguished a fire that raged in Oregon after a Union Pacific Corp train carrying crude oil derailed on Friday and burst into flames near the Columbia River in the town of Mosier., the Federal Rail Administration said.
Local schools were evacuated in a quarter-mile radius around the scene and a portion of the interstate highway was closed. Photos showed plume of smoke rising above the trees. The FRA told Reuters in an email that the evacuation was expected be lifted later on Saturday.
A total of eight cars of the Union Pacific UNP train filled with fuel had derailed and only had caught fire, a Oregon Department of Forestry spokesperson told KATU News. State officials said had been closed. The Environmental Protection Agency, Coast Guard and FRA officials were still on site and continued to monitor the river. There were no reports of oil entering the river, the FRA said.
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Energy companies have come to rely on the country’s railroad network to transport crude oil in response to the fracking boom of the last decade. The oil exploration method allows oil engineers to dig up oil in locations that would have been unthinkable just years ago, and oil trains are the most efficient way to get natural resources from the field to the refinery.
Activists say these trains pose a risk to the millions who live along the tracks where crude oil trains travel. Train tracks and tanker cars weren’t built to accommodate trains carrying loads of heavy crude oil, making the trains more likely to derail. The deadliest incident killed 47 people in the town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec in 2013.
The Mosier derailment was the first major oil-by-rail incident in the United States in a year.
Union Pacific did not immediately return a request for comment.
This article was originally published on Time.com. Additional updates from Reuters were added by a Fortune editor.