BNSF train carrying crude oil derails, catches fire in Washington state near Canadian border

Jessica Flores

A train carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire on Tuesday in Washington state near the Canadian border, prompting a major emergency response and forcing the closure of Interstate 5 in both directions.

Authorities have advised residents of the small town of Custer, about 100 miles north of Seattle, to evacuate the area. No injuries have been reported, The Seattle Times reported

 The train derailed at 11:46 a.m. in Custer, State Patrol Trooper Heather Axtman said in a news conference. Seven cars derailed and five of them caught fire, according to the state’s Department of Ecology. Authorities are investigating the cause of the incident.

State traffic cameras showed a large black smoke plume before Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo reported that the fire was under control.

“BNSF is working with local authorities to assess and mitigate the situation,” the company said. “Our first priority is dealing with any safety issues. We will provide additional details as they become available.

Axtman on Twitter urged all residents and visitors within a half-mile of the derailment area to evacuate.

Custer has roughly 130 iresidents, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Contributing: The Associated Press


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