Multi-car oil train derails in Oregon: officials

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 03, 2016 4:29 PM

(Reuters) - A multi-car oil train derailed in northern Oregon on Friday, about 70 miles (110 km) outside of Portland, officials confirmed, though there were no initial reports of injuries.

Black smoke could be seen following the accident, which occurred in Mosier, near the Columbia River. A spokesman with the Mosier Volunteer Fire Department said there were no injuries, and the damage was confined to the railroad.

Union Pacific Corp owns the line, The Oregonian reported, citing a spokesman. It is unclear who was shipping the product. A Union Pacific spokesman did not immediately return calls from Reuters seeking comment.

"It has closed the interstate. There's black and white smoke, and I hear they might be evacuating houses in the area, too," said Jared Snyder, proprietor of the Thirsty Woman Pub in Mosier.

Bob Melbo, state rail planner for the Oregon Department of Transportation, said he did not know of any injuries. Those trains usually have two crew members, he said.

Rail operators such as Union Pacific are required under federal law to disclose crude rail movements to state officials to help prepare for emergencies. The rule was put in place following a string of fiery derailments.

Since 2008, there have been at least 10 major oil-train derailments across the U.S. and Canada, including a disaster that killed 47 in a Quebec town in July 2013.

Images from Portland's KOIN-6 television station showed several cars sitting perpendicular to the tracks following the derailment.

Interstate 84 has been closed and the nearby Mosier Community School was evacuated, a school official said.

In its latest disclosure with the state, Union Pacific said it moved light volumes of Bakken crude oil along its state network, which includes the Oregon line. In March, they transported six unit trains, which generally carry about 75,000 barrels each.

They expected four trains in April and did not expect the pace to pick up, the company said.

(Reporting by Jessica Resnick-Ault, Jarrett Renshaw, Erwin Seba, Devika Krishna Kumar, Eric M. Johnson and Curtis Skinner; Editing by G Crosse and Chris Reese)