The Latest: Track failure likely cause of train derailment

AP News
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Posted: Jun 05, 2016 6:48 PM
The Latest: Track failure likely cause of train derailment

SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on the Oregon oil train derailment (all times local):

3:45 p.m.

An official with Union Pacific Railroad says some kind of track failure was likely the cause of the oil-train derailment in Oregon.

Raquel Espinoza says the company is focused on removing the crude oil from the damaged cars as safely and quickly as possible. She says their priority is to bring people home to Mosier, Oregon, where the train derailed.

About a hundred people — a quarter of the town's population — have been evacuated from their homes since Friday.

The mayor and fire chief said on Sunday they recognize that the derailment and fire in their town could have been a lot worse.

Fire Chief Jim Appleton says the usual amount of wind in Mosier — about 25 mph — could have turned this incident into a major disaster, destroying the town and sending flames across state lines.

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12:30 p.m.

An oil-train derailment and fire has damaged essential city services in a small Oregon town, authorities said Sunday.

The Mosier waste water treatment plant and sewer system are not operational as a result of the derailment Friday of 16 of the 96 tank cars on a Union Pacific train. A fire in four of the cars was extinguished Saturday morning.

An area about a quarter mile around the train remained evacuated on Sunday, and officials were conducting continuous water and air monitoring. About a hundred people were evacuated from a nearby mobile home park by the train derailment and fire that sent plumes of black smoke into the sky near the scenic Columbia River Gorge.

Residents of Mosier were being asked to boil any water they used for drinking or cooking, as a precaution.

No injuries have been reported. But Oregon health officials are asking people with questions or concerns to call a hotline to talk to a health expert at 888-623-3120.