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Train carrying oil erupts in flames, town evacuated in North Dakota

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A train derailed causing a huge explosion that forced a town to be evacuated on Wednesday in North Dakota.

A train carrying tons of crude oil has derailed in the Upper Midwestern state of North Dakota causing a huge explosion and forcing authorities to evacuate a town nearby.

Ten out of the 109 tankers the train was carrying exploded as it left the track, according to Cecily Fong a spokeswoman for the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services.

“All 40 residents of the nearby town of Heimdal, about 110 miles northeast of [the state’s capital] Bismarck were safely evacuated,” Fong told local media.

Flames and black smoke suffocated the neighboring area as the ruins burned for several hours after the derailment in the early hours of the morning.

No one was reportedly hurt in the incident. The financial and the environmental damages have not been addressed by authorities yet, but, judging from previous incidents, they can likely cost the state millions of dollars.

The latest incident is 9th train derailment in the US and Canada since 2013. It comes as the US government is on the path to imposing fresh set of laws on rail deliveries of crude oil and other fluids that are flammable.

"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," according to a statement from Sarah Feinberg, the acting chief of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

Critics in the US have accused the current rules in place as being too sloppy and insufficient to avoid major explosions.



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