Two trains derail in Washington and Arizona amid rising rail safety concerns
Two BNSF trains derailed in separate incidents in Arizona and Washington state on Thursday, with the latter spilling diesel fuel on tribal land along Puget Sound.
There were no injuries reported. It was not clear what caused either derailment.
The derailment in Washington occurred on a berm along Padilla Bay, on the Swinomish tribal reservation near Anacortes. Most of 5,000 gallons (nearly 19,000 liters) of spilled diesel fuel leaked on the land side of the berm rather than toward the water, according to the state ecology department.
State, tribal and contract cleanup teams were responding and working to remove the remaining fuel from two locomotives that derailed before righting them. A hazmat team from a nearby oil refinery was also available to provide additional spill response equipment.
The derailment in western Arizona, near the state’s border with California and Nevada, involved a train carrying corn syrup. A spokeswoman for the Mohave county sheriff’s office, Anita Mortensen, said that she was not aware of any spills or leaks.
The derailments came amid heightened attention to rail safety nationwide following a fiery derailment last month in Ohio and a string of derailments since then that have been grabbing headlines, including ones in Michigan, Alabama and other states.
The US averages about three train derailments every day, according to federal data, but relatively few create disasters.
Last month, a freight train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, near the Pennsylvania border, igniting a fire and causing hundreds of people to be evacuated.
Officials seeking to avoid an uncontrolled blast intentionally released and burned toxic vinyl chloride from five rail cars, sending flames and black smoke high into the sky. That left people questioning the potential health impacts even as authorities maintained they were doing their best to protect people.
Source of data and images: theguardian