Photo by Curt Bemson (abcnews.go.com )
HEIMDAL, N.D. — The small North Dakota community of Heimdal and surrounding farmsteads have been evacuated after an oil tanker train derailed Wednesday morning.
Wells County Emergency Manager Tammy Roehrich said the BNSF Railway oil tanker train derailed about 7:30 a.m. about a mile and half east of Heimdal. Heimdal is about 90 miles southeast of Minot.
Cecily Fong, public information officer for the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services, reported there were 10 tanker cars on fire. The engine and cars not on fire have been decoupled and moved to safety.
No injuries or fatalities have been reported, Fong said.
Roehrich said she couldn’t get close enough to the train to see whether it was exploding or just burning. “It looks a lot like Casselton,” she said, referring to the fiery train wreck of oil tankers near Casselton in late 2013.
Wells County 911 Director and Deputy Sheriff Janelle Pepple said the the sky was black with smoke near the derailment site.
Emergency crews from several fire departments in the region and hazardous materials teams from Devils Lake and Grand Forks responded to the derailment.
The train was operating on the BNSF line near Hamburg, another community within Wells County in central North Dakota, said Fong, adding approximately 40 people were evacuated from Heimdal, which is about 19 miles from Hamburg.
The 2010 Census reported 27 people living in Heimdal and 21 residents in Hamburg. Both are in northeastern Wells County.
In addition to HAZMAT teams from Devils Lake and Grand Forks, the state Highway Patrol and firefighters from Harvey, Fessenden, Hamburg and Devils Lake have been dispatched.
This is a developing story. Please check back on Wctrib.com for details.