BNSF oil train derails in Washington, two cars catch fire

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Smoke from burning derailed tank cars is visible in the background as BNSF distributed power units Nos.  7866 (ES44DC) and 4723 (C44-9W) pull the remainder of the train out of the wreck area on Tuesday in Custer, Wash.
Robert B. Clark

CUSTER, Wash. — A BNSF oil train derailed and caught fire late Tuesday morning in the small community of Custer leading to evacuations within a half-mile radius of the accident site.

The Bellingham Herald reports seven cars of the train derailed about 11:40 a.m., with two catching fire. The train is reported to be carrying Bakken crude oil; Whatcom County, Wash. Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management Deputy Director John Gargett told the newspaper that the no injuries were reported but the evacuations were ordered out of an abundance of caution. Interstate 5 falls within the evacuation zone and was closed  for about two hours, reopening about 2 p.m.

As of midafternoon, only some small pools of fire remained and they were to be allowed to burn themselves out.

Custer is less than 8 miles southeast of the Canadian border on I-5, and about 14 miles northwest of Bellingham.

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